I’ve now pretty much left Instagram, bar for commenting/liking, and have moved my day-to-day photos towards Flickr.
For a while, I’ve had a feeling of wanting to take longer-lasting photographs, of better quality, that actually stand-up to time — something which Matt well articulates. This post-Instagram, post-filter landscape has been accelerated by Instagram’s recent behaviour that has undermined its value to me and sullied the gentle social: the main reason I loved their service.
It is still a good record of the bits and pieces that I’ve experienced over the past year — including getting married, a handful of trips to Mitteleuropa and more Copenhagen — but next year I’d like to get better at photography, with a better camera.
Einar and Jørn from Voy have finally made a video to explain and demonstrate Ugle: the networked owl.
In their own words:
Ugle is a wooden owl that can be controlled over the internet with an iPhone application. It lets you send colour-messages from your phone to your home. When you change the position of the colors on the owl on the screen, the physical owl turns its head to the chosen color. It is a decorative personal message system where the household has to decide what the colours mean.
— Hoot hoot! A new Ugle film, Voy
I bring up Ugle quite a lot, in talks, in conversation, in day-to-day life. It’s the perfect example of the kind of products that people should be designing for the home — networked but not screaming network, undemanding, ambiently conveying meaning. The meaning is constructed between the people that use it, rather than being dictated by the object.
It is designed for natural tendencies, casual observation, rather than trying to create a new behaviour.
Too many products that come out of the Internet of Things end up putting utility above beauty, whereas it can be both. Ugle demonstrates that it’s possible to have a domestic, networked object that is functional and pleasing to look at (see also the Good Night Lamp by Alex D-S).
Ugle is calm, ambient, networked and beautiful, and that’s what our homes need.
I was invited to take part in the Sheffield leg of a series of events run by Creative Times called The Beauty of Digital.
I spoke briefly about digital not being a thing, and it being a tool. I made a bunch of slides that looked like this:
It was an enjoyable session with a pretty inquisitive audience. The rest of the speakers were James Wallbank (Access Space), Bea Marshall (Moogaloo) and James Boardwell (Folksy).
1. X1172 by Max Capacity, via New Aesthetic
3. Chromaroma by Mudlark
4. Derby  by Mudlark
5. Birmingham Civic Dashboard by Mudlark
8. One Minute Internet, Part 2: Fukushima (March 12, 2011) by Marcus Brown
10 & 11. MemCode, Issue 2 by Mudlark
14. Ugle by Voy
15. SXAESTHETIC by James Bridle
16. Foo Fighters, Live From Reading ’95 by The Uprising Collective
17. You Don’t Compare Wolf, via New Aesthetic
18. Parasol via Circumambient (oft NSFW)
Since October last year, Instagram has ruled my photograph taking. It’s done what Flickr should have done and what twitpic, yfrog and the like thought they were doing — a simple, single-purpose photo sharing mobile app.
It gets a lot of flak from people moaning about the use of filters, but that misses the point of what it really is. Like criticising twitter for people’s spellings. As a social space, it’s probably my favourite at the moment. It reminds me of the early days of twitter – the days when you followed a fairly small, but diverse, group of people. When you shared ideas – occasionally what was for lunch – and didn’t have to worry about blocking all the SEO spammers or niche retail outlets from Kentucky, or people shouting for attention.
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There’s a decent amount of talk going on about “glance-able information” in the form of dashboards and second-screens. The central idea is to use digital to be ambiently aware of information, or add commentary to your experience. They augment what you are currently doing. Not in an AR kind of way, just casually. backchannel
Like many people, I watched Russell Davies’ keynote at Media Festival Arts on Friday. As usual, he offered up several golden eggs.
Central is the concept of post-digital. Of taking information that we put into the internet back out of it and using it to make Real Things. To try to avoid experience being completely mediated by screens. Newspaper Club is the most successful expression of that so far.
Carry on, camper.
Notes from week one-thousand, three-hundred and ninety
Apologies for the delay. I have been busy. Really. Just last week I went to drink a pint of beer with James Boardwell. True story. Whilst there, we briefly discussed data (every two-bit nerd’s common subject), the opportunities it’s throwing up, and how, as individuals, we’re generating more and more information every-day.
One data-driven project that uses casually created personal data is Mudlark’s Chromaroma (currently in alpha). Chromaroma is an ambient game using Oyster card transactions to gather points, discover mysteries at locations, and provide you with information about your commute. I think there’s a lot more to it than that, experience-wise, but, not being a London-based commuter, I don’t know. I’m not sure that casual competitiveness would encourage me to go out of my standard route, even Gowalla (which I’m very attached to) struggles to force me to stay on an extra bus stop*.
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