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— urbantick

February 2011 Monthly archive

Something like this is what the future will hold. Maybe but most likely not. Somehow there are just a few too many words leading the trend table currently. Who will be talking social network in ten years time? Who will be making money or do something over night?

THe thing with the futre is, I guess that as soon as you have projected it its already the past. Since the ideas and concepts are rooted in the present at most its unlikely they can capture the future. But then it i a way to talk through the current trends and at least be aware of them. The future is a better now one could argue.

Not sure, but the add is great and quite impressive. Its a bit creepy actually. The way these not even quite teens talk to you, its more like they are already rather deep in it. There isn’t much with – in ten years – actually this is now, I would say.

Clip by PHP a an media agency. Interestingly the feedback to this clip has been overwhelmingly negative and the company apologised on their website and on youtube, where they have now posted the clip. Almost as if the cat bit its own tail. On youtube the clip counts 199 likes and 1466 dislikes.

Not sure what to make of it now. Why are they not standing by their product, why apologise for a vision? Of course to use the kids to talk about this and imply they want this and live it, reduced them to puppets of the agency and the technology, not a very ice picture, but hey it could be worse. Maybe we should tag them, the whole population I mean, get them tracked and chipped which all the personal details downloadable at all times, maybe not.

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Turning lifeless objects into tweeting, talking nodes of interaction is the new internet promis. A sweet thing to do, and probably not that far of. It is definitely not new and the importance of everyday object we surround us with has long been neglected.

It is definitely one of the ver important sources of identity and the creation of self. This is in how we can reflect upon these aids of persona, but also in the way this collection of things portraits us to the outside world. This creation of identity involves memories, conception, but also peer group and cultural values.

What you have and what you do represents your persona in the context and places one in the right spot on the picture, towards friends and family, neighbours and business partner, or strangers.

barcode KANOJO
Image taken from leetneet / One of the Kanojos, Girlfriends at BarcodeKanojo.

So why not project some personality into these objects and treat them nicely. This is what Barcode KANOJO has institutionalised as a barcode hunting game, were every barcode turns into a sweet manga girl an could be your girlfriend.

This is unless she is already someone else’s girlfriend. To snatch her requires quite a bit of stamina, you have got enough to start, but be advised to use it wisely. The Internet of Things is about as unforgiving a the rest of your social landscape, including any other networking media. But never mind you can always just make friends with the manga on your screen.

Any barcode can be scanned and will be interpreted via the camera of our smart phone, the iPhone app can be downloaded HERE. How to play can be found HERE.

at the time of writing the scans today have been at 1,689, the total number of Kanojos generated was at 1,021,672 and the total number of scanned barcodes using this app was at 1,769,288. Its not such a small niche thing after all.

The developer describe the game as: “The Barcode KANOJO brings you a new encounter with virtual girlfriends called ‘KANOJO’ on your iPhone. To find her, you just need to scan the barcode attached to any kinds of goods using your iPhone.
Once you have your own KANOJO, you can take care of her to increase her love, find another KANOJO, or steal a new one from other users.”

barcode battler
Image taken from digitalwellbeinglab / The original Barcode Battler to read barcodes in the local supermarket own the road.

Of course there are very close similarities to earlier 80is games such as Barcode Battler for example, but I guess back then guys were heros and monster killers, today they are softies and girlfriend snatchers.

The developer claim there are 7 trillion possible combinations of female to create. Not only that, but depending on where in the world you are, the girls appearance should be more ‘traditional’ to your area.

I guess its the Internet of Things going bonkers, but never mind people seem to like creating a mental projection of their objects they interact with frequently.

barcode girlfriend
Image taken from japanator / Guess this would be a good barcode to start scanning for girlfriends. App is downloaded HERE. But then you might want to try and start with a more unusual barcode for a less stamina intensive start.

“While this barcode may be but a dry symbol, beyond it lies another world.”

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News media coverage on the Afganistan War, started in 2001 and the Iraq War started back in 2003 by the then President of america, George W. Bush has slowly but surely been pushed of the headlines. It was big back then and still is every now and then, but the general public has gotten used to it and doesn’t know where to go with additional information about similar events. In Afganistan the war is into its tenth year and in Iraq into the eighth.

Nevertheless people are still dying in this war, on all kinds of different sides. Long gone are the days where there was only two sides. Who is with who and who was with whom last time, or tomorrow? Nobody knows and probably nobody will ever know. The only hope is that progress can be made, even if slowly, steadily towards a stable but independent and local rooted sense of direction.

Wikileaks has in July and October last year released a massive amount of documents related to the war. These basically are reports on events and incidents, a War Diary essentially. Tse dat was picket up by the Guardian visualised via Google Fusion Tables. The Wiki Dum consist of some 391,000 records. The Guardian Data Journalists have been pondering over it for weeks and theyr summary is available on the Guardian Data Blog.

Iraq Death Map

Link taken from the Guardian Data Blog / The data on all reported deaths in Iraq is available on the Google Fusion Tables. Full details available directly from the Wikileaks page. For a full view of Iraq zoom out, it really covers the entire country!

It is important to look very closely at this data. The visualisation is extremely missleading and is is vastly unclear what it show. For example as jpsnodgrass in a comment on the Guardian Data Blog points out, there are a great number of unrelated incidents mapped in the same fashion implying they are contributing to the full picture. He notes “the same visual points represent vastly different categories of incidents involving injuries or deaths. For example, look north of Fallujah city where two red dots lie very close to each other. This is the information about one of the events:

Type: Friendly Action
Category: Attack
Region: MNF-W
Attack on: FRIEND
Enemies killed: 14

This means that Regimental Combat Team One (part of the 1st Marines) conducts Opposing Force (generic “The Enemy” for training purposes) rehearsal and feint. i.e. They were practicing the maneuver into Fallujah and pulled out.
The 14 “enemies” seem to be fictional entities hypothetically killed in a theatric rehearsal.

The dot next to this:
Type: Non-Combat Event
Category: Accident
Region: MNF-W
Attack on: NEUTRAL

Read: Tank accidentally rolls over (and kills) Coalition member in the vicinity of Fallujah.

Click on the other points on the map, especially the ones outside of the major cities. You will find that many of them are “criminal events” (i.e. civilian murder, or murderer unknown, or a body was found, cause of death unknown).”

Taking out the ‘Accidents’, the category ‘Others’ and turning the map from a dot map into a heat map changed the picture

Link taken from the Guardian Data Blog / Map is based on the Wikileaks information on the Iraq War dumped in October 2010. It is available on Google Fushion Tables. You can log in via your Google Account and play around with the data yourself.

The Wikileaks do not mix things up or are misleading in themselves, but it is just a very large pile of raw data. This includes everything, including information that doesn’t belong or is wrong, a dump really. Authoring a visualisation will still require a lot of attention and knowledge on the subject. Even though Google supplies this amazing Fusiontables tool, visualisation has not become easier. It has become more accessible.

By far these documents are the largest and most detailed public available documentation of any war do far. But is it really making a difference? Does this map convince you of the necessity of this operation? Are you now, after clicking a few of these incident reports believe in the strength of military forces and their ability to foster society culture and maybe democracy?

Guess the same critique applies to the Afganistan War Diary data released by Wikileaks around the same time. Here is also a Google Table available together with a crude mapping. The same category mixing is going on. It hoever includes many more, since it does not only focus on deaths.

Available on Google Fusion Tables or directly on Wikileaks, or also via the Guardian.

Afganistan War Diary Map
Data available on Google Fusion Tables via the Guardian Data Blog.

Link taken from the Guardian Data Blog / Map is based on the Wikileaks information on the Afganistan War dumped in July 2010. It is available on Google Fushion Tables.

War Reporting is not done from the desktop, not with Google and not with Wikileaks. As it is with ‘clean warfare’ and ‘smart bombs‘, putting the distance between operation and action, or directing devastation from the comfort of a remoteness location is not changing the reality on the ground. War kills and imprecise reporting does not help save lives either.

war reporter action figure
Image taken from dcrtv / THe war reporter as action figure.

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Graffiti artist Marc C. Woehr and Interaction Designer Achim Kern have collaborated on this project to augment graffiti using light. The installation with the title ‘The City Never Sleeps‘ features a Woehr drawing and uses projection to light paint into it.

It is quite amazing how the light has the power to completely change the scene. It is possible to turn the whole thing inside out by lighting up the facades of the buildings and taking them out of the darkness or especially when the sky behind the buildings becomes the focus of the activity.

the city never sleeps
Image taken from Achim Kern / Impression form the exhibition where ‘The City Never Sleeps’ was shown. The artist were not atisfied with the exhibition pace, not dark enough, so they prduced a second visual shich can be seen HERE.

Graffiti feature everywhere in the urban scene and are already quite a lively part of the street scape, since they apear and disappear on a short term basis. Adding the temporality of the lighting this could grow into a fully blown interactive urban landscape using augmented reality or tagging technologies. Maybe even in combination as demonstrated by the Tales of Things team at the last CASA Seminar. Martin de Voot demonstrated how to use QR tags as AR tags.

With technology becoming available, especially for examples mobile projectors this could be a fantastic feature for the urban context. Products are available for examples from Microvision.

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The NCL raw data collection has been running continuously over the past few weeks and data has been collected for cities around the world. It seems time to update the world map from is previous version. So far we have covered 67 cities. However they are not all mapped yet. This will take a bit more time, but we are working on it.

In fact, so far we have in order of appearance:
New York, London, Munich, Paris, Moscow, Sydney, San Francisco, Barcelona, Denver, Hong Kong, Beijing and Chongqing. Further more the urban areas that need processing are: City
Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Athens, Atlanta, Bangalore, Basel, Berlin, Bogota, Boston, Cairo, Cape Town, Chicago, Doha, Dubai, Dublin, Glasgow, Guongzhou, Istanbul, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Lima, Liverpool, Los Angeles, Madrid, Manchester, Manila, Mexico City, Mumbai, New Delhi, Oslo, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Sana’a, Santiago, Sao Paulo, Sfax, Shanghai, Sofia, Stockholm, Taipe, Tehran, Tokyo, Toronto, Tripoli, Tunis, Vancouver, Zagreb.

The NCL maps show a virtual landscape generated from geo located tweets sent from within a 30 km radius of the urban centre.

For now there is an updated world map of NCL world map with links to the individual locations. A link is provided to click through to the interactive and zoomable version of the individual urban area map. This will allow to explore the city of interest in more detail. It does now including the covered area. If you zoom in to a location the 30 km radius is plotted as an overlay.

For a large scale map click HERE. The maps were created using our CASA Tweet-O-Meter, in association with DigitalUrban and coded by Steven Gray, this New City Landscape represents location based twitter activity.

There are, as pointed out in earlier posts great variations between the cities activities on twitter. Also the number of geolocated tweets vary dramatically. So far Amsterdam is clearly leading the table with over 50% geolocated tweets. Compared the most active cities London and New York both on average send about 10% geolocated tweets.

Image by urbanTick for NCL / Urban Areas with total number of tweets (purple) and total no of geolocated tweets (yellow)> This gives an idea of the relationship between tweets and geolocated tweets in different areas of the world.

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The space we work in is subject to personal adjustments and preferences. To the extend possible it gets customised and personalised. This is, if working in a large corporate company not always posible to the extend desired and often is reduced to putting up a photograph of a loved one or a colourful coffee mug.

However, how do we choose our workplace if there is a lot more freedom, how do you create your working environment at home? The MyDesk interview series is looking into this and unveils freelancers work desks and other workflow secrets, of course with great snapshot.

Image taken from the desk of / Photograph of Robb Ogle’s desk. He lives in Ontario. Prior, three years were spent in New York after seven years in Boston as a graphic designer and occasional typography professor. Even before that, a lot of Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Wisconsin happened. He is fascinated by words and pictures of words.

Kate Donely describes her ‘Desk’ projects as “A site dedicate a site solely to canvas of the Desk.

A Desk is where we work. Symbolic. Physical. Present. A second and third home. A Desk is a platform. A hearth. Roots are planted. It’s where hours upon hours pass.”

The interviews are often very detailed and can be intimate about routines and habits. Very quickly the individual persona shows through. But still the rules for the contribution are very clearly sated “Please, don’t stage it. Don’t clean it (a messy desk doesn’t make a messy mind). Don’t make it something you or your work is not. Keep it real”.

THe guardian for a ong time has this as a image with a short text in the Review section of the Saturday edition. Sometimes it was called ‘a writer’s room‘ or ‘an artist’s room‘. For example there was Richard Sennett’s writing room published on Saturday 25 April 2009.

In the interviews the desk owners get usually very personal and affectionate about the arrangements on the table. The intimacy of the scenery is real and almost always each object has its very own story and reason to exactly feature in this way.

Robb Ogle explains about his arrangements “Ugly little vinyl pitbulls from a bubble vending machine atop one of two Behringer Truth monitors which sound like heaven. Little Nemo in Slumberland vol 1. from Sunday Press Books sits against the wall. Off to the left, rolled up poster by Derek Hess.

Image taken from the desk of / Photograph of Adrian Tomine’s desk. was born in 1974 in Sacramento, California. He is the writer and artist of the comic book series Optic Nerve, as well as the books Sleepwalk and Other Stories, Summer Blonde,and Shortcomings. His comics and illustrations have appeared in The New York Times and McSweeney’s, among others, and he is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.

“It appears you are quite organized.” And Adrian Tomines replays (see his desk above) “Other cartoonists make fun of me for having such a spartan, tidy studio. All my friends have these amazing rooms filled to the rafters with books, toys, artwork, etc., and then my studio looks like it belongs to an anal-retentive architect or something. It’s probably some low-grade OCD thing, but I actually have a hard time working in a cluttered, pack-rat environment.”

Image taken from the desk of / Photograph of Noa Scalin’s desk. Noah Scalin is a Richmond, Virginia based artist & designer. He is the creator of the Webby Award winning art project Skull-A-Day which was the basis of his first book, SKULLS.

The importance of the little bibelots is very present in these documentations. Sometimes the technical equipments can play this role and has an individual story, mainly in the case of geeks, but very often additional elements such as figures and collectables, which appear to have no apparent use, occupy these prime spots in the workery scene. It is all about inspiration.

For the full list of reported workspaces see fromyourdesks.com

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I will be giving a lecture today at the Bartlett School of Architecture to the MA Urban Design course students. The course is directed by Professor Colin Fournier.
My talk will focus on the spatial dimension of narratives and time in everyday urban live. The different topics discussed are Repetition, with an introduction to the machine city and different types of cycles to create an identity of the place, Time as a framework of organisation, Space as a result of body physicality and experience, Pattern as a combination of time and space and a conception of place as mental maps to Morphology as the physical result of the narrative created.
As illustration material serves the data collected via the twitter microblogging site, the New City Landscape maps, as well as urbanDiary GPS tracking data.

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Talking cycles and repetition, this is probably the most prominent example everybody remembers from primary school, the water cycle. The rain comes down over the mountains filters through the stone, a spring, a creek, a river, a stream into the ocean, where it is picked up by clouds, ferries to the mountains.

A fairly romantic picture, but definitely a basic diagram explaining connection. Also it servers very well as a starting point for questions. For example for a six year old, why is the water salty in the ocean, but not the rain? How does the water know the way to the ocean? And why are the couds not drifting of to the moon?

This could go on and on developing into a full blown session on earthly systems, but it is all about the basic idea of a systemic concept. It is not about what happens it is more about what happens with it.

So or an ad explaining what a water supplier company does, this is a gold one, back to school.

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Taking pictures is the main activity for tourists. They are constantly snapping away, trying to capture the extend of their explorations, banning experience onto the sensor. A certain desire drives them, the eager to document what has happened in order to proof that it did.

It is like almost taking a piece of it home. This idea of possession or conquering is still part of the human nature as hunter and collector and going on holiday is only successful once one can see the perfect view on the tiny little LCD screen of the camera over and over again. Like a box ticked.

Vionnet Moscow
Image taken from mymodernmet / St. Basil’s basilica on the Red Square in Moscow

The Swiss artist Corinne Vionnet has built here work ‘Photo Opportunity‘ around this topics. From online sharing sites she sources her material of hundreds of similar snapshots of landmarks, in German ‘Sehenswuerdigkeit’ (literally translated ‘worthy to see’), and overlays them as transparent images. The results are slightly blurred, but recognisable images of the landmarks of the top snap shot locations around the world.

Regarding the sourcing of images Vionett explains “This work is intrinsically linked to the people who took these pictures. The collaboration is obvious, but it is without their knowledge. These pictures are on the Internet, to be seen by any eventual visitors. I am just one of those visitors. It is the sheer quantity of these almost identical pictures that gave me the idea of superimposing them. I do not think I would have had the idea if I had made all these pictures of the same places myself. Anyway, the work would loose its meaning.”

Vionnet London Parliament
Image taken from photolucida / THe Parliament in London

The images evoke a sense of a collective memory. They quite literally illustrate this idea of hundreds of people sharing he same experience. In this case it is having see the same thing, or more precise having taking almost the ame picture. What they have seen is not quite clear.

Interesting is that each image shows the same subject, largely they are visually the same images. However the collective memory is defined by Maurice Halbwach as: “While the collective memory endures and draws strength from its base in a coherent body of people, it is individuals as group members who remember” (Maurice Halbwachs, Collective Memory, p.48) His conception of collective memory as a very confined and group specific construction is very clear and he was one of the first to promote this idea of connected and very local collective memories.

Vionnet Beijing Forbidden City
Image taken from photolucida / The Forbidden City in Beijing China. Here Vionnet has focus on the Mao portrait to adjust the different images overlaid.

A similar approach is taken by the German artist xxxx. He also uses online photo sharing platforms such as flickr to manipulate images and provoke memories of personal experiences.
He explains: “The installation consists of two projections, the perception and the memory layer. Both shell be explained in what follows.
The perception layer represents the sensory memory before any priorities have been chosen. It receives the newest images from flickr (flickr.com) which get distorted, mixed and blended to persuade some sort of sensory noise.”

Image taken from Matthias Dörfelt / Screenshot of my installation “Selective Memory Theatre” which is my bachelor thesis at art school.

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The thing with time is that if your not on it, you might have missed it. The opportunity windows are small and meeting with others’ shedule might be tricky. This is the same in the ever so present online networking world. Nothing is more boring than a static profile page as you might have on linkedIn or Academia. However, this is one of the option for not to get missed, just be always there.

In the ephemeral world of twitter, facebook, gowalla or foursquare this is not an option. If your facebook page hasn’t changed in the past day, something is wrong, if you haven’t checked in at any location that day on foursquare you must be very ill and in bed and if you did not send any tweets in the past hour this isn’t gona work.

Image taken from tech cocktail / timely logo.

The flow of tweets however, does not guarantee that if you tweet your tweet is being read. On the contrary things are changing fast and as a tweeter your basically battling on your own against the rest of the tweeter kingdom for a sunny spot on the top of any readers list, but on time. Right at that moment this follower of yours is actually reading the first three tweets on the feed, picks the one you wrote and retweets or replays or clicks, but does something with it.

This is tricky, but time is on our side, or better the human desire to organise around it in cycles. Even here on tweet-eden routine rules the behaviour and there is a certain time of the day your tweets will have the prime spot, most-impact-in-24-hours-moment it would be called.

And of course there is an app for everything – here is TIMELY. It is simple but functional. Write a tweet you want to send out, timely looks through your past 199 re-tweeted tweets checks them agains a 24 hour timeframe and calculates the time of the day your tweets had the most impact in the past. At this very moment in the upcoming 24 hours your tweet will be sent. Ever though of something like that?

There isn’t much more to it, really. And to proof the point, the guys at timely, actually flowtown, provide you a basic statistic with the past tweets send on this platform showing the number of clicks, the number of retweets and the number of readers (potential readers) your tweet has had so far.

With this you can really start to enjoy your day. No more worries about keeping up with the bomb shell tweet, just follow the stream of incoming messages, relaxed you can watch other struggle along with tweeting, everything with the peace of mind that your three tweets scheduled will be on time. Thats all that counts.

Image taken from urbanTick on flickr / Screenshot of my timely performance panel.

Of course timely does offer other functions, for example you can have multiple accounts, or invite other people to schedule tweets on your timeline, this is great for collaboration on one account. It features an integrated url shortener that actually work The settings allow you to controle how many tweets will be sent per 24 hours and accordingly the analysis will be adjusted. Weekends can be different or ignored and you can also force a tweet to go out in the next 30 minutes, of course timed to fit the best time frame.

One thing to mention though is that the management of the queue, you can prewrite a whole list of tweets, is tricky since there is only a delete, edit or move to the top button. A move up and down, especially for the top few in the queue would be very handy.

Anyway try it for yourself and get your tweets out on time. At least some of them, you can still use in parallel other platforms to reply or interact, this is gona be the back bone to keep your twitter account running on time!

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