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robertogreco : utility   26

The Art of Teaching
[via: "The slide deck for the workshop is superb. Such a great experience, so grateful to @tchoi8 & the other participants." https://twitter.com/dphiffer/status/879465006449909760

referencing also: "How I learn to build things. Something I created for @tchoi8’s Art of Learning workshop at @eyeofestival."
https://twitter.com/dphiffer/status/879366496354488322 ]

[video: "Absence is Presence with Distance"
https://vimeo.com/234330230

"As an artist, I work with technology and narrative – formal and relational projects. As an activist, I examine personal and political – practice and praxis. As an educator, I create feedback between plastic and elastic – learning and unlearning. My talk is set at the dawn. We are waiting for the sun to rise and we are full of questions. What’s the role of an artist as an activist now? How can we critique oppressive systems that create the sense of ‘others’ based on ability and legal status? What’s kind of pedagogy can we experiment through alternative schools? How can we create a community among those who have nothing in common? By creating art, we can give form to our intentions, contribute to making the world we want to live in.

( For a companion posting to this talk visit:

https://medium.com/@tchoi8/absence-is-presence-with-distance-c0712aada56c )]
taeyoonchoi  education  teaching  purpose  routine  ritual  silence  flow  conflict  communication  structure  nurture  authority  kojinkaratani  jean-lucnancy  community  howweteach  pedagogy  learning  howwelearn  eyeo2017  unlearning  curriculum  syllabus  sfpc  schoolforpoeticcomputation  art  craft  beauty  utility  generosity  sfsh  tcsnmy  lcproject  openstudioproject  classideas  cv  reciprocity  gifts  kant  discretion  instruction  discipline  johndewey  bmc  blackmountaincollege  justice  annialbers  stndardization  weaving  textiles  making  projectbasedlearning  materials  progress  progressive  unschooling  deschooling  control  experimentation  knowledge  fabrication  buckminsterfuller  constructivism  constructionism  georgehein  habit  freedom  democracy  paulofreire  judithbutler  sunaurataylor  walking  christinesunkim  uncertainty  representation  intervention  speculation  simulation  christopheralexander  objectives  outcomes  learningoutcomes  learningobjectives  remembering  creativity  evaluation  application  analysis  understanding  emancipation  allankaprow  judychicago  s 
june 2017 by robertogreco
In Search of the Long Wow — Between Shelves — Medium
"What happened to the e-reading revolution that would shape the way we think about text?

If it’s possible to draw my life onto a timeline then every major event would be accompanied by a book. Although, despite what my shelves might tell you, I certainly don’t hoard them. It’s the books that are infatuated with me.

In hope of spending a weekend by my side, or even just a moment in my bag, books will call out from the shops in airport terminals and reveal themselves along riverbank market stalls. Likewise, I’ve found so many books waiting for me on the midnight trains that slowly criss-cross their way along the English towns near my home that I’ve begun to imagine a conspiracy of books at work; they’ve heard reports of my forbidden touch, or the color of my eyes, or my prolonged contact with the naked bodies of their friends. And so, hidden in jackets and sheathed in purses, the books plan their approach as they hope to try their luck with me instead.

I find them everywhere, at all times, and they respond to my body like a magnet; jumping into my bag, clinging onto me for dear life. What is it about these books, these inky sponges, I wonder, that make them act so desperately?

That’s not to say that the relationship is all one-way however; over the past year or so the buildings and faces around me have swirled into an incomprehensible blur and it’s only when I think about these books that the events lost in that swirl begin to make a little sense. I vividly remember the the final scenes as I turn these books over in my hands; they reveal a collage of where I was, and who I was, when I read them.

Yet in the foreseeable future my library can no longer be brought along for the ride, and I can no longer continue my affairs with the strange books that whisper my name in the dark. This year I’ll be attempting to avoid those flirting temptations by reading everything on the new Kindle Paperwhite.

I’ve always been fascinated by e-reading devices but I’ve been continuously frustrated by my expectations of them. Several years ago I owned a Kindle with physical buttons and a keyboard, and I remember how the experience was much like trying to read a novel from an Etch-a-Sketch.

During that time I tried to ignore how the designers appeared oblivious to centuries of typographic discipline, yet the hardware itself was unavoidably primitive and frustrating in every regard. No matter how many reviews I watched or how many friends recommended them I couldn’t understand where this wellspring of sentiment came from. Ultimately I felt that ebooks, and e-readers, showed so much promise but it was a promise that couldn’t be kept, which is why I was so very hesitant when I thought of returning to the Kindle again.

Yet I didn’t know anything about the latest models at all. I hadn’t picked apart the reviews or carefully watched an unboxing video, and my bookish friends appeared oblivious to the developments in the ebook world, too.

I believe this is for two reasons: one, no-one appears to believe anymore that ebooks will annihilate the print world any time soon, and two, the Kindle Paperwhite is remarkably boring.

And that’s the first thing you discover when you open the box and setup your account — it dawns on you just how truly boring the Kindle now is. So much so that whenever I’ve tried to bring up a conversation about my latest reading adventures I watch as faces droop and eyes roll, it’s impossible not to yawn in reply. Where are the Watch apps and the VR simulations that will let me read Moby Dick whilst sitting on the Moon or tumbling down a roller coaster, I hear you ask.

Back in 2007, when the Kindle debuted, there was so much hope for a literary and technological revolution of some kind. But eight years later, surely we ought to have replaced this antiquated ebook technology by now.

If this is the future that we’ve been promised from the very start, then where is the revolution? Where are the new forms of reading?

And where is the Kindle?

After opening the Kindle Paperwhite for the first time my impression was that I had somehow been tricked — I discovered that time had slipped forward by an hour in what felt like a second. Hmmm…, I thought. Shortly afterwards, I visited my Kindle library and found that it had automatically downloaded everything from my previous device. Hmm…, I thought again. Next, I tried to buy a book and found just how cheap the Kindle versions are, easily saving 50% of the cost of a physical book. This encouraged me to double the size of my library in a matter of minutes. Subsequently they appeared onto the device silently, without any procession, just like magic.

Hmmm… I continued to think.

It slowly dawned on me that the Kindle is such an interesting device today precisely because it is so very boring. It looks and feels like a machine that’s finally reached maturity; it’s part of a greater ecosystem that cannot sustain itself by flashy gimmicks or tropes. Instead, it just quietly, expertly, does a very simple job, and does it extraordinarily well.

A string of Hmmm’s and Oooh’s occur with each passing moment spent with the Kindle, and this reminded me of an old post about design by Craig Mod. Somewhere deep in his vast archive of book design is a note about two experiences: the Long Wow vs. the Small Wow. Yet I can’t seem to retrieve the quote from search terms or keyword strings, and this leads me to think that I am garbling the original idea in some horrible manner. Perhaps it wasn’t on Craig’s website that I first heard of this idea at all.

But here’s how I remember it.

The Long Wow vs. the Small Wow

The Long Wow is the sort of action that continues to impress, long after someone’s first experienced it. But the Long Wow is never really an individual sound, image, graphic element or feature of a product that we can point to. Instead, it’s a collection of features and experiences: it’s how they snap together, and how the seams between these features are then hidden away from view. It’s made up of lots of tiny moments, and identifiable features, but it’s difficult to point to a Long Wow with any certainty.

For instance, the first time we saw magazines on the iPad — all those animations and diagrams and Minority Report-like features! — these could each be described as a Small Wow. But the gimmicks fade quickly and then you’re left wondering how the blasted thing works. (Is this the app where I have to swipe right and then down into the article, or is the one where I have to pinch-zoom out to get to the contents page etc etc.)

However, both types of Wow are possible outside the realm of the e-reader, too. I remember a physical book that was surely capable of both. After years of looking at it, I still gawp at its shape and texture. I think about the custom typeface, about the quality of the paper, about the delicate woodcut illustrations, each a Small Wow in their own right, and each leading to a more satisfying reading experience overall.

In other words, there are Small Wows that contribute to better experiences, and then there are Small Wows that prevent them. This is why designing a reading device is so frustratingly difficult. But in order to understand the Long Wow of the Kindle, we have to break it up into each of its component parts, the tiny features that continue to impress and surprise:

• The prices of ebooks are astoundingly cheap.

• You can throw the Paperwhite into a bag and not worry for a second whether or not it could be damaged in the process; its plastic body feels durable rather than cheap.

• The screen has a coarseness to it that resembles another material entirely. On the iPad you swipe your finger along a slippery plane of ever-present, fragile glass but on the Paperwhite your finger tracks along a groove that resembles thick card.

• The network connection always feels predictable: you know when you’re offline and which features you can access. A notification doesn’t pop up when you walk away from your WiFi hotspot. Bonus points: you rarely need to be online anyway.

• The battery life appears to be nigh-on infinite.

• The screen/format/process is perfect for text-only works: novels, short stories, collections of talks, etc.

• The common design of most Kindle books has now overtaken their physical counterparts.

• Typographically speaking, the Kindle has reached an a-ok position for me. Every book I’ve read is still poorly justified but somehow I forgive them. Although, it should go without saying that the text of every ebook should be left aligned, ragged right.

• The custom-made Bookerly typeface, made by Dalton Maag, is a solid foundation for future typographic experiments on the Kindle platform.

• The refresh rate is very responsive: in the previous model that I owned whenever you turned a page or selected an option the screen would judder very slowly. But now, the way that the whole screen refreshes when you tap to reveal the menu or turn to swipe a page leaves a pleasant, old-school computer feeling in its wake, one that isn’t annoying in the slightest.

• The lack of physical buttons is a very good thing. I’d heard terrible moans about previous models having touch screens but this one seems to be immediately responsive and fast.

• Tiny gestures, like highlighting the text or calling the main menu by touching the top of the screen, are elegant, consistent and memorable. There are effectively three “buttons”: tap the top part of the screen for the menu or tap left/right to turn the pages.

These features aren’t thrilling, and they can’t easily be made into an advert that sparkles or grabs the reader’s attention; it’s difficult to imagine Zooey Deschanel or Samuel Jackson sitting in a brightly lit room and talking into a camera whilst they Oooh and Aaah about the highlighting gesture or the battery life of a Kindle.

Yet amidst that … [more]
robinrendle  kindle  longwow  technology  edtech  utility  ebooks  ereaders  paperwhite  2016  reading  howweread  smallwow  books 
april 2016 by robertogreco
s p a c i n g : : : whose space is public space?
"Sometimes I feel an urgent need to get out of Toronto, and this is one of those times. The strain does not come from difficult friendships or celebrity magazines or the noise, so much as my relationship to my fellow pedestrian. The crisis is almost always a crisis about strangers; it’s a crisis of eye contact. Someone approaches and the problem of whether to look away or look at them — and if to look, how long to keep looking for — does not resolve itself easily, quietly, in the background. It becomes a loud problem, and as people pass by, the anxiety of how to act and this question about responsibility to my fellow humans, paid out in a momentary acknowledgement of our mutual humanity, prohibits me from thinking about anything else.

In such a state it is difficult to accept that we really are free on the streets of Toronto; free to look or not look as we choose, without consequence and without affecting anyone for the better or worse. In times like these, it feels as though what it means to look at someone and what it means to decide to not look is as central an ethical dilemma as any; that the question of our responsibility to each other really comes down to how we interact with people we do not know. What degree of regard are the hundreds of strangers we pass in a single day worth?

That walking among others should present itself as a dilemma is pathetic. Perhaps it is because we are primarily a culture of drivers, not pedestrians. Even if we do not drive, still we share the streets with many who do, who do not occupy the sidewalks with pleasure but rather are wishing there was less space to travel between the restaurant and their parked car. “Urbanity and automobiles are antithetical in many ways,” writes Rebecca Solnit in Wanderlust, a history of walking. “A city of drivers is only a dysfunctional suburb of people shuttling from private interior to private interior.” This is also true in a city of transit users — we rush to the streetcar stop, take a seat, look through whatever newspaper is lying closest. Walking is no longer, as Solnit points out, “a state in which the mind, the body, and the world are aligned.” As a result, we are jarred by our encounters. Eye contact is an irritation. It disrupts the work of getting somewhere.

Most of us accept as inevitable the sort of eye contact that is most pervasive, that rushed and fearful glance. You might argue that this way of looking is respectful; that since privacy is so scarce in a city, it is gracious to look away. But I have experienced such gentle looks away — giving them, getting them — and they’re not what I am talking about and not the norm. There still remains that quick glance away, which often leaves me with a feeling of shame or a sense of the diminishment of my humanity. And as I sweep my eyes rapidly from someone’s face onto the mailbox, I recognize that, in my wake, I may leave that person with this same anxiety.

For some people, it seems clear, if someone looks quickly and uncomfortably away as soon as eye contact is made, no matter. This crisis doesn’t exist for them; the interaction barely registers. I wonder if such people are suffering from what George Simmel calls “the blasé attitude.” He defines it as the result of the over-stimulation of nerves that accompanies life in a metropolis, which results in a “blunting of discrimination, [so] that the meaning and differing values of things, and thereby the things themselves, are experienced as insubstantial. They appear to the blasé person in an evenly flat and gray tone; no one object deserves preference over any other.” The lamppost, that boy, same difference.

But for those of us who are not suffering from the blasé attitude, who are very conscious of the reality of the people we encounter, why do we look away embarrassed or scared, rather than gently, politely, in good conscience? Perhaps in every glance there is desire expressed. I don’t mean sexual desire — though sometimes there’s that — as much as the sort Constant Nieuwenheuys described when he wrote, in 1949, “When we say desire in the twentieth century, we mean the unknown, for all we know of the realm of our desires is that it continuously reverts to one immeasurable desire for freedom.”

Perhaps the desire expressed in every glance, that we see in another person’s face and they see in ours, is a desire for freedom — which on the street comes down to the freedom to look at each other. We are naturally curious about other people. From the start, as babies, we are drawn to the eyes of our parents. Imagine a cat, neurotically trying not to look directly at a passing cat. We need eye-to-eye contact. We want to see each others’ faces. It is why we take and keep photographs, watch television, hang portraits in our homes. There is something terrible about looking at each other, only to have reflected back our own (and the other person’s) thwarted, repressed desire to look. Somewhere we have failed magnificently.

Our culture is such that a greater value even than freedom is productivity, utility. I was having a conversation with a friend about leisure, and she was saying how much she enjoys doing nothing, just wandering aimlessly around her house, thinking. “I find it so productive,” she decided. Even an activity we enjoy precisely because it is not about production we must ultimately justify by way of its productivity. This being the situation we find ourselves in, how can we ever justify to ourselves or to each other the value of those most fleeting relationships, lasting at most two seconds long, with a stream of people we will never see again? What is the utility of the quarter-of-a-second-long relationship?

When we look and look away, we reveal what we want — communion, citizenry — and what we lack — communion, citizenry. It is not unreasonable to think the health of a culture can be judged by how many seemingly inconsequential encounters and experiences are shared among its citizens. Take the option of making real eye contact with strangers — frank, fully conscious, unafraid, respectful, not obtrusive. This level of engagement would be satisfying, but so exhausting to sustain; possibly too relentless and demanding for a city-dweller, since to look at someone in this way is to acknowledge and recognize how they’re like you, how they are like everyone you know and love, and so to become responsible for them, just as you are responsible for those you love. But while your duty to your friend is directed only at your friend, as needed, your duty to a stranger can be paid only to the collective, constantly.

We need to learn how to look away well, but we cannot fake it. We cannot look from someone’s face comfortably until we find what we are looking for in it."

[quoted here: http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2015/02/27/look-and-look-away/ ]
sheilaheti  communition  citizenship  civics  productivity  community  privacy  unknown  constantnieuwenheuys  strangers  attention  consciousness  culture  society  collectivism  utility  leisure  leisurearts  artleisure  nothing  wandering  idleness  relationships  togetherness 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Capitalism Whack-A-Mole | MattBruenig | Politics
"There is no general framework of morality or justice that supports laissez-faire capitalism. This is a problem of course for those who wish to argue on behalf of it. When you talk to such people, a familiar argumentative pattern emerges that I have come to call Capitalism Whack-A-Mole.

Someone playing Capitalism Whack-A-Mole moves seamlessly between three different — and mutually incompatible — frameworks of justification. Those frameworks are desert (each person should get what they produce with their labor), voluntarism (each person should get whatever they come about through voluntary, non-coercive means), and utility (the economic system should be created to maximize well-being). This Capitalism Whack-A-Mole does not need a starting point, but, in my experience, either desert or voluntarism comes first, with utility the back up when the argument turns really bad.

Here is a simulation of one such argument."
capitalism  2014  mattbruenig  inequality  voluntarism  utility  desert  taxes  libertarianism 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Alexandra Lange on 3D printers versus the sewing machine
"In March, Slate Magazine's Seth Stevenson provided a public service when he borrowed a Solidoodle 4, pitched as the "accessible", "affordable" 3D printer, and attempted to print a bottle opener from Thingiverse. [http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2014/03/solidoodle_4_testing_the_home_3_d_printer.html ] Results, as they say, vary, but he ended up, after a series of phone calls and false starts, with "a functionless, semi-decorative piece of plastic."

The bumbling encounter with technology is a popular stratagem for Slate, but here it pointed directly to the reason we're not seeing a 3D printer in every den. I've seen those rhino heads, those dinosaur skulls. They do not fill me with delight, but remind me instead of the cheap toys my kids bring home from birthday parties and I throw away in the night. Why bother? How is printing your Triceratops at home more creative, more making, than buying one from a store? In either case, step one is scrolling through pages of online options, pointing and clicking in 2D.

Stevenson concluded that 3D printing was no place for amateurs, but for tinkerers. Those able to work under the hood of the printer: to understand the terms in the manual, to customise or create their own products for Thingiverse. For such tinkerers, neighbourhood printing hubs like Techshop, where subscribers can go to use physical or digital tools, make more sense. Designers taking advantage of 3D printers' capabilities for rapid prototyping and small-batch production have already started farming out the actual printing to places like Shapeways. When we stopped having to fax even weekly, we all got rid of those machines.

But then Stevenson took a turn toward the larger question of craft. He wrote, "Once upon a time, people purchased sewing patterns (like a program from Thingiverse) and yards of fabric (like filament) and they made their own clothes. I wasn't alive back then, but I'm pretty sure the process sucked."

I must be older than Stevenson, because my mother and grandmother sewed clothes for me. My mother, aunt and I have all sewed clothes and quilts for my children. They are not amateurishly constructed. We managed to make them while also holding down full time jobs. And judging from the extremely active online sewing community, the active trade in old machines and patterns on Ebay, and the ease with which one can locate a scan of a thirty-year-old sewing machine manual, the digital age has not turned sewing into a novelty, but spawned a revival of interest. In fact, if 3D printers are truly going to become a consumer good, they have a lot to learn from the sewing machine.

Because Stevenson snidely generalised from his own limited experience, he missed the instructive dialogue between craft and the machine age. Post-industrial sewing is not a freak but a respite. In Evgeny Morozov's recent New Yorker essay on the new makers, he quotes historian Jackson Lears' critique of the Arts & Crafts movement as "a revivifying hobby for the affluent." I'd say middle-class: (mostly) women who aren't seeing what they want, at a price they can afford, in the marketplace.

There’s an appetite for the "refashion," recycling an old dress or an adult T-shirt, and turning it into something new. Once upon a time, the use of flour sacks as fabric prompted grain-sellers to start offering their wares in flowered cotton bags. If some boutique grain company began doing that again, there would be a run on their product. Under the technology radar, there's a community of people sharing free patterns, knowledge and results, without the interpolation of brands, constantly obsolescent machinery, or the self-serving and myth-making rhetoric Morozov finds in Chris Anderson's Makers. There are the answers to the questions "Why bother?" and "How creative?" Rather than sewing being a cautionary tale, 3D printing can't become a consumer good until it learns a few lessons from why we sew now.

Number one: what's not available on the market. If you have a girl child in America, it is often difficult to find reasonably-priced, 100 per cent cotton clothing for her without ruffles, pink or purple, butterflies and hearts. If you go to the boy section, you run into an equally limiting set of colors, navy and army green, and an abundance of sports insignia. A full-skirted dress, a petite skirt, prints for the plus-sized – there are plenty of styles that are not novelties but, when not in fashion, disappear from stores. Online you can find patterns to make any of the above for less than $10, and fabric at the same price per yard. Online you can find step-by-step explanations, with photos, of how to make that pattern. That world of patterns is vast, constantly updated, and historically rich. Yes, sewing your own garment will take some time, but then you will have exactly what you want. That's why women bother.



Second lesson: recycling. Say my mother did actually sew something amateurishly. That's not the end of the story. A mis-printed jet-pack bunny is so much trash (unless I buy a second machine like a Filabot to remelt my filament). A mis-sewn seam can be ripped out and redone. An old dress can be refashioned into a new one. A favorite vintage piece can be copied. Sewing does not create more waste but, potentially, less, and the process of sewing is filled with opportunities for increasing one's skills and doing it over as well as doing it yourself. What are quilts, after all, but a clever way to use every last scrap of precious fabric?

So far, 3D printing's DIY aspects seem more akin to the "magic" of an ant farm, watching growth behind glass. Sewing lets the maker find their own materials, and get involved with every aspect of the process. 3D printing could do this, and there are classes, but even at the Makerbot showroom the primary interaction seemed to be ordering from Thingiverse. My local sewing shop has to teach more women to sew to survive; I don't see the printer makers coming to the same conclusion.

In addition, the machines themselves are constantly becoming junk. It's not unusual for new technology to change quickly. That's the fourth Solidoodle since 2011. Makerbot is on its fifth generation. It is early days for 3D printing, and the machines may eventually stabilise. But the rapid obsolescence suggests a lifecycle closer to that of a mobile phone than of a washing machine, which might also turn consumers off. The sewing machine was considered a lifetime purchase.

Last but not least, sharing. This is the one consumer area where 3D printing approaches sewing's success. From the Free Universal Construction Kit to full-body scans, the idea of open-source, free, and social-media enabled printing has been built-in to the 3D process. Showing off what you made is better when you created it, rather than printed it out. On the sewing blogs, the process pictures are half the fun, and most of the interest. What does it really teach your children when you can get doll house furniture on demand, except a desire for ever-more-instant gratification? For me to believe in 3D printers as a home machine, I'd have to see the digital file equivalent of women in their off-hours, making up patterns as they go along, sharing mistakes, dreaming better dreams. 3D printing feels bottled up, professionalised, too expensive for the experimentation of cut and sew and rip and sew again.

Stevenson wrote, "most people would much rather just get their clothes from a store — already assembled by people employing industrial-level efficiency and a wide variety of materials," and that's true. What Solidoodle and Makerbot and the rest should be looking at is the people who have seen everything in the store and found it wanting."
alexandralange  2014  sewing  3dprinting  makerbots  making  makers  repair  reuse  glvo  sharing  obsolescence  process  howwework  cv  waste  utility  technology  fabrication  alteration  thingiverse  purpose  usefulness  solidoodle  makerbot  recycling  agency  need  necessity  patterns  clothing  wearables  techshop  shapeways  sethstevenson  craft  lcproject  openstudioproject  homeec  repairing 
may 2014 by robertogreco
vade mecum - Wiktionary
"Etymology: From the Latin vāde (“go!, walk!”), the second-person singular present active imperative of vādō (“I go, I walk”) + mēcum (“with me”), literally meaning "go with me!".

Noun: vade mecum (plural vade mecums)
A referential book such as a handbook or manual.
A useful object, constantly carried on one’s person."

[Via @litherland: "I love my little book, my vade mecum, my iPhone." https://twitter.com/litherland/status/222854164936540161 ]

[See also
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enchiridion ]
cv  books  iphone  language  thehandbook  theguidebook  themanual  manuals  walking  sidekick  sidekicks  utility  enchiridion  vademecum  greek  latin  words  handbooks 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Chindōgu - Wikipedia
"Chindōgu (珍道具?) is the Japanese art of inventing ingenious everyday gadgets that, on the face of it, seem like an ideal solution to a particular problem. However, chindōgu has a distinctive feature: anyone actually attempting to use one of these inventions would find that it causes so many new problems, or such significant social embarrassment, that effectively it has no utility whatsoever. Thus, chindōgu are sometimes described as "unuseless" – that is, they cannot be regarded as 'useless' in an absolute sense, since they do actually solve a problem; however, in practical terms, they cannot positively be called "useful.""
japan  chindogu  technology  inventions  culture  design  gadgets  uselessness  usefulness  utility  sideeffects 
november 2011 by robertogreco
(hm) Electric Literacy Playground
[Wayback link: https://web.archive.org/web/20101028060343/http://www.headmine.net/electric-literacy-playground ]

"In the 20th century, youth culture gave birth to a new sensory training ground that helped us explore and adapt to the emerging electronic environment."

""To think of such a culture as 'preliterate' is already to distort it. It is like thinking of a horse as an automobile without wheels." - Walter Ong"

"Since we are, like the ancient Athenians, living through the beginning of a major technological revolution that is putting pressures on every aspect of our cultural fabric, de Kerckhove's study of the Greek theater should make us pause and ask ...

"What would a playground for electric literacy look like?" and "Have we already created such an environment?""

"What would a sensory training ground for electric literacy feel like?"

"The distinctions between art and utility are already beginning to blur in our digital world."
education  technology  culture  history  media  art  headmine  utility  glvo  cv  literacy  senses  sensory  training  unschooling  deschooling  digital  marshallmcluhan  ancientgreece  play  digitalliteracy  society  sensemaking  bighere  longnow  walterong  tcsnmy  lcproject  shiftctrlesc  secondaryorality 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Ten design lessons from Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture - (37signals)
"1. Respect “the genius of a place.”…

2. Subordinate details to the whole…

3. The art is to conceal art…

4. Aim for the unconscious…

5. Avoid fashion for fashion’s sake.…

6. Formal training isn’t required. Olmsted had no formal design training and didn’t commit to landscape architecture until he was 44. Before that, he was a New York Times correspondent to the Confederate states, the manager of a California gold mine, and General Secretary of the United States Sanitary Commission during the Civil War. He also ran a farm on Staten Island from 1848 to 1855 and spent time working in a New York dry-goods store. His views on landscapes developed from travelling and reading…

…7. Words matter…

8. Stand for something…

9. Utility trumps ornament…

10. Never too much, hardly enough."
design  landscape  fredericklawolmstead  via:lukeneff  art  architecture  latebloomers  cv  autodidacts  genius  philosophy  simplicity  education  utility  yearoff  training  formaleducation  formal  informal  travel  experience 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Frank Chimero - Your Shit, My Stuff, Goldilocks, and Making the Bed You Sleep In
"There’s no name for this way of thinking, but if I had to steal a term, I’d use Merlin Mann’s Appropriatism. It’s not minimalism, it’s not maximalist, it’s just-right-ism. Goldilocks was on to something. The idea sits somewhere in the middle, exactly at the crux of whatever works the best with the least amount. The core precept of all of it is this:

“Add things until it starts sucking, take things away until it stops getting better.”

We’re looking for that sweet spot, the thing that fits just right, plus or minus zero. With that said, this isn’t a zen, simple living blog post. By being an apostle for nothingness, we lose touch with reality. Philosophy is worthless if it is not practical. My intent is to be helpful and useful, not dogmatic. Your mileage may vary, if only because of differing needs."
frankchimero  merlinmann  appropriatism  minimalism  steadfast  hot-swap  access  optimization  freedom  personalization  needs  needsassessment  fit  beauty  utility 
january 2011 by robertogreco
The Way We Live Now - Home-Schooling for the Techno-Literate - NYTimes.com ["Here is the kind of literacy that we tried to impart:…"]
"Every new tech will bite back. The more powerful its gifts, the more powerfully it can be abused. Look for its costs. • Technologies improve so fast you should postpone getting anything you need until last second. Get comfortable w/ fact that anything you buy is already obsolete. • Before you can master device, program or invention, it will be superseded; you will always be beginner. Get good at it. • Be suspicious of any tech that requires walls. If you can fix, modify or hack it, that is a good sign. • The proper response to a stupid tech is to make a better one, just as proper response to stupid idea is not to outlaw it but to replace it w/ better idea. • Every tech is biased by its embedded defaults: what does it assume? • Nobody has any idea of what a new invention will really be good for…crucial question: what happens when everyone has one? • The older the tech, the more likely it will continue to be useful. • Find minimum amount of tech that will maximize your options."
teaching  parenting  literacy  learning  education  technology  kevinkelly  glvo  tcsnmy  obsolescence  homeschool  schools  criticalthinking  utility  unschooling  lcproject  abuse  costs  hackability  modification  fixability  invention  homework  stress  self-directedlearning  autodidacts  learningtolearn 
september 2010 by robertogreco
Jonathan Harris . Oct 25, 2009 [Los Angeles]
"By anybody's count, I was having what one might call a Very Good Time. But as the day bore on, the tug of nature grew stronger and stronger on my heart, and all I could think about was getting back up into the mountains. I guess you could call my ailment escapism, but I wonder whether that tired quasi-Buddhist maxim of needing to learn to exist happily in any setting isn't at least a little bit bullshit. Places exert a stabilizing or stultifying energy upon us, and the force of that energy seems proportional to our sensitivity. Life is short, places abound, and some of us are sensitive, so why not find places that provide the kind of energy we need?"

Also: "I prefer the housekeeping philosophy of keeping only those things that provide essential utility or essential nostalgia. It can make for a sparse house, depending on your sentimentality."
jonathanharris  place  nature  losangeles  oregon  buddhism  energy  utility  minimalism  nostalgia  memory  homes 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Frank Chimero - Utility Ambiguity [Frank describes the iPad, iPhone, and Twitter in way that suggests these tools were built knowing that, as William Gibson said, "the street will find its own uses for things"]
"It’s why Twitter is so different from Facebook. The value proposition of Facebook is clear: stay in contact with friends and share with them. But what do you use Twitter for? No one knows, because there’s no right way to use it. It’s why it fascinates some, and beguiles others. Twitter can’t even craft a clear value proposition on their homepage to say what the site is for. If you are someone who needs convincing, that’s frustrating, because everyone is talking about Twitter. If you are observant, it’s a sign that something big is happening. It’s not a hammer with one specific use. It’s not even a swiss army knife that can do many different things. It’s more akin to two pieces of stone, from which you can make your own tool: arrowhead or hand axe."
twitter  ipad  iphone  facebook  tools  human  ingenuity  frankchimero  socialmedia  media  technology  design  apple  consumer  gaming  innovation  html  utility  ux  makeyourowntool  ambiguity  multipurpose  defineityourself  whatcanyoudowiththis  onlinetoolkit  moldability 
august 2010 by robertogreco
16 iPhone Apps for "On The Road" Creatives - Walk in the park, look at the sky.
"Like many my iPhone is hardly ever used as "a phone". It's a magical little box that can be transformed into a million different uses. Here's some of my selections that I find essential when out and about. Evernote... PicPosterous... Dropbox... JotNot... Photoshop.com Mobile... Mill Colour... addLib... Brushes... WhatTheFont... Doc2... Ftp on the go... Elena... Creative Review Annual 2010... McSweeney's... Instapaper... This American Life
iphone  applications  mobile  creativity  onlinetoolkit  productivity  utility  thenewutilitybelt  instapaper  millcolour  addLib  bushes  thisamericanlife  photoshop  evernote  picposterous  posterous  dropbox  jotnot  whatthefont  doc2  ftponthego  ftp  elena  mcsweeneys  ios 
may 2010 by robertogreco
BashFlash - A different kind of Flash blocker for Snow Leopard
"BashFlash lets you stop the Flash plug-in dead in its tracks, letting your new-fangled Mac cool down, use less power, and give you more time to do whatever it is you do. Probably blog or tweet or something. How does it work? On 64-bit Macs running Snow Leopard, Safari pushes the Flash plug-in off into its own process. BashFlash lives as a tiny menu app, monitoring this process and warns you (by turning red) if Flash is using a relatively significant amount of processor cycles. You can then use its menu to kill the Flash plug-in. That's hot. Any running Flash content is replaced with the broken plugin icon. Want to get Flash working again? Simply reload the page, or go to a new one. The next time Flash is needed, it'll come back to life."
flash  osx  mac  free  utility  applications  safari  plugins  software  freeware  browser  battery  chrome  plugin  macosx  bashflash  browsers 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Sci-Fi Hi-Fi: Weblog: A site that visibly promotes how many ’friends’...
"social applications that have had most utility & long-term staying power for me have been ones that implement social features in most lightweight way. For example, del.icio.us has remained one of my favorite social sites while I’ve burned out on others—largely because it implements social features in such a self-effacing way (uses a “unilateral” connection model, doesn’t send new follower notifications, doesn’t publicly reveal people’s friends & followers, & doesn’t actually display a friend or follower count). The social aspect of del.icio.us is a feature, not actually the entire point of the site, as a result it hasn’t been subject to burnout I’ve experienced with a lot of social sites...has also managed to maintain (at least within my network) an admirable signal-to-noise ratio—at least partly, I think, because users are focused on personal utility & not on sort of “look at me,” Scoble-style “webcockery” that often comes to dominate sites that are more emphatically social media."
del.icio.us  via:britta  socialmedia  cv  followers  followercounts  personalutility  utility 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Is Your Business Useless? - Umair Haque - HarvardBusiness.org
"Socially useless business is what has created a global economy on life support. Socially useless business is what has created a jobless "recovery" and mass unemployment amongst the young. Socially useless business is why we don't have a better education, healthcare, finance, energy, transportation, or media industry. Socially useless business is a culture in shock, reeling from assault after assault on the fabric of community and comity. Socially useless business is the status quo — and the status quo says: "You don't matter. Our bottom line is the only thing that matters."
design  society  umairhaque  business  sustainability  businessmodels  capitalism  humor  metaphors  value  economics  utility  strategy  socialvalue  sociallyuseless  walmart  google  nike  apple  banking  finance  global  globalization  unemployment  education  healthcare  energy  transportation  media  culture  us  community  constructivecapitalism 
october 2009 by robertogreco
ClickToFlash
"Ever wanted to get rid of the scourge of the web that is Adobe Flash, but still retain the ability to view Flash whenever you want? With ClickToFlash, you can! Using ClickToFlash, all of those icky Flash bits that have infected most webpages on the internets are replaced with a nice, smooth gradient and the word "Flash" set in a nice, pleasing font. When you want to view the Flash, just click on it!"
internet  web  flash  browser  plugin  plugins  safari  macosx  youtube  clicktoflash  mac  osx  adobe  utility  webkit  opensource  extension  browsers 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Tile Drawer
"Tile Drawer makes designing and hosting custom maps simple and straightforward. The project lets anyone run their own OpenStreetMap server in the cloud with one-step configuration and zero administration. Tile Drawer is a product of Stamen Design’s Michal Migurski.

[intro here: http://mike.teczno.com/notes/tile-drawer.html ]
maps  mapping  drawing  cartography  gis  osm  openstreetmap  michalmigurski  utility  stamen 
august 2009 by robertogreco
Artichoke: Teaching: working for the government and stealing chickens.
"irrelevance of ideas around changing education in Time’s “changing the world” list...worries me that children & learning seem so easily excluded from these imaginings over remaking the global economy. Are teachers so professionally predictable that...we have nothing new/relevant to contribute? Has our secure government salary meant that “paradigm shifting” edu_(un)conferences...“future focussed Web2.0” edu_blogs/twitter streams –“best evidence synthesis based” edu_professional learning communities – & “knowledge waved” edu_policies/edicts allowed us a false sense of relevance? Has being pre-disposed to risk adverse behaviours...like choosing to: train for, apply...and work in a job with a predictable salary – excluded us from 10 ideas changing the world right now...How might we alter our pedagogical approach if we thought we were working in uncertain careers in perilous times?...if what we could offer was not needed every day?...if what we could offer was only occasionally useful?"
education  gamechanging  deschooling  unschooling  relevance  irrelevance  teaching  learning  children  global  economics  certainty  uncertainty  worldchanging  tcsnmy  importance  utility  artichokeblog  pamhook 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Password Manager + Automatic Form Filler for Mac OS X
"1Password takes care of all your online passwords so you can use strong and unique passwords for every site and never forget any of them! Here are just a few of the unique features of 1Password:"
security  mac  software  passwords  osx  iphone  applications  macosx  safari  extensions  1password  productivity  utilities  utility  ios 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Chris Heathcote: anti-mega: revelations
"I’m a bit sick of plain utility...certainly want more politeness in technology, but if there’s an opportunity to mix in some happy, I’m unsure if that’s bad. It’s happy as in power moves, cheat codes, easter eggs, winking, delight, maybe even j
technology  travel  ubicomp  japan  happy  utility  interaction  experience  design  transport 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Mundo Utility Bikes: affordable bikes to carry cargo and to transport stuff by bike for sustainable transportation
"The Mundo Utility Bike is designed to promote affordable, scaleable transportation for cargo and people, particularly for developing parts of the world that rely heavily on human-powered mobility in rugged conditions. Of course, it works just as well car
bikes  commuting  utility  cargo  longtails  bikeoptions  mobility  transport  longtail 
april 2008 by robertogreco
PopMatters | Columns | Rob Horning | Marginal Utility | The Design Imperative
"We are consigned to communicating through design, but it’s an impoverished language that can only say one thing: “That’s cool.” Design ceases to serve our needs, and the superficial qualities of useful things end up cannibalizing their functionality. The palpability of the design interferes, distracts from the activity an item is supposed to be helping you do. The activity becomes subordinate to the tools. You become the tool."
design  critique  criticism  function  form  utility  popular  aesthetics  retail  target  consumerism  consumer  society  competition  popularity  symbolism  industrial  products  customization  hipsters  marketing  image  personality  handmade  books  possessions  materialism  objects  fashion  style  commerce  variety  hipsterism 
january 2008 by robertogreco
KrazyDad » Blog Archive » Utility is overrated.
"Utility is also what separates the things we call toys from the things we call tools...And a world full of nothing but tools, crafts, weapons and propaganda is a joyless world indeed. There is a reason that joyless people are often called “tools”.
toys  art  craft  play  making  humor  design  creativity  branding  utility  storytelling  tools  life  glvo  writing 
september 2007 by robertogreco

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