insta $$

One reason for the popularity of Instagram and Hipstamatic is they trigger a collective memory of nostalgia with their patina style filters. Physical world patinas imply changes to a surface through age and exposure. Yet the digital world doesn’t reflect age/exposure in the same way, although it can be manufactured to. Regardless, a picture is worth a thousand words and nostalgia appeals to the masses, so voila, $$.

In the future I imagine digital patinas that are left by dear ones, or better yet me.  Kind of like my stamp on the world, my uniqueness, my brand. The more I do something or go somewhere in the digital realm, the more wear and tear it would show on that place. Our marks on public and private places could look different, reflecting who we are in public and private.


insta $$


I lead our teams’ effort for the vision portion of Bill Gates last CES keynote. We highlighted the concept of “information anywhere” by creating a phone hardware/software prototype that showcased 2 scenarios: a digital guide for the real world; and accessing our digital history.

Scene 1- Real World Digital Guide

We envisioned how future digital lifestyles would use phones and other evolving devices to overlay the physical world with real-time information through software and services.

Using the Vegas strip as the backdrop and looking through the prototypes camera viewer, Bill observed contextual information and recommendations overlaid onto the world, and presented real-time.

We built a phone prototype (nicknamed “phonosaurus”) that used a combo of software from research and our team. Behind the scenes technologies included: GPS, camera’s and machine visioning ,info in the cloud, contacts, events, preferences, tracking behaviors, the weather, subscriptions, even sourcing 3D model information of the world from things like Photosynth and Virtual Earth.…

In January2008, phones had cameras and GPS which allowed you to know where you were, but not what you were looking at or how it’s related to your life.

Scene 2- Digital History

Here Bill and Robbie Bachdiscuss how all types of content will be accessible and easily shared through any device, anywhere we are. Like a unified library…content available in a single view no matter where it resides (PC, phone, cloud, etc…).

An individual’s history was viewed on a timeline. The timeline was accessed from the phone and then using a gesture, shared to the large screen in the room. The transition was seamless taking into account the new screens capabilities and restructuring the UI accordingly, rendering high res- images and 3D capabilities.

Here’s a low res version of the keynote.


NYT on context

I recommend reading  the NYT article “Texts without context” by Michiko Kakutani. It heavily quotes Jaron Lanier.

 It’s describes the state of the art with regards to the internet, media and culture. We’re changing the way we think and process information: commentary is king, division and identity politics are key, and “mash-ups are more important than the source” (to quote Jaron).

The article gets lost in the middle and has too many quotes. But has good points of how we’re receiving and interacting with info today. It’s a thought provoking aggregate.

Kakutani writes “People form judgments before seeing the arc of an entire work… and rely far more heavily on cherry-picked anecdotes — instead of broader-based evidence and assiduous analysis”.

This is very much in line with news reporting today. It’s become like fast food- don’t let it get cold before you serve it.

He ends with another quote from Jaron  “… since the Web is killing the old media, we face a situation in which culture is effectively eating its own seed stock.”

Whether this is good for us isn’t relevant; it’s here. I doubt it will ever go away. It’s now a right, a platform for freedom of speech that people have never had before.

I don’t think we can neatly separate technology, business, and culture anymore; the bleed is too heavy.
Some initial questions for the future.

  • What will define a subject matter expert?
  • Should we build frameworks for knowledge unions?
  • How this effects business and government?
  • What role can technology play in making sense of the mess? Is it a mess?
  • Can we predict the evolution of media and culture?
  • Is there an opportunity to redirect culture? Should we?

I saw a talk from Mary Ann Allison 5 years ago. Part of her talk was about automation and its effect on society (Farming, manufacturing, etc). She gave us in software technology a warning, she called it “Karma”-and said be thoughtful because what we automate, as we will be setting the stage for automating social processing.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

NYT on context

Jesse Schell-DICE 2010

Jesse gave an entertaining and informative talk “Design outside the Box

He spoke about the playing field for the online world and how reality is everywhere, not just in games.

Facebook, it was unexpected and is not like other retail models. Factoid: There are more Farmville players than twitter accounts.

Some online gaming successes are attributed to what he calls the elastic velvet rope; aka psychological tricks.

  • WebKins- Promote virtual animals and stuffed animals are real (truly kids believe this)
  • Club Penguin-Get’m hooked with free stuff and then start charging for extras.
  • Mafia games- Using your real friends to play games and compete with.
  • If you spend time on things it must be valuable.

He cites the book “Authenticity” – Gilmore and Pine, the premise is about what consumers really want.

The most valuable thing in products today is whether they are real/authentic. Why now? All of the virtual stuff that has crept up over the years has cut us off from nature. We live in a bubble of fake.

He believes in technological divergence not convergence; with the exception of the pocket devices. Phones are like a Swiss army knife- including not appropriate for the kitchen.

He has a funny diatribe around point systems from ear buds influencing your dreams to digital tattoo advertising competition.

Jesse Schell-DICE 2010

NIN- my muse

I went to a Nine Inch Nails concert summer 2008, the tech for the staging was interactive and incredible.

There were 3 vertical layered of screens, an LED screen backdrop and 2 semitransparent screens in front, with the band between the layers.

The set also was interactive at times using touch, lights and presence as the interaction method.

The Nine Inch Nails – The Making Of from Moment factory shows some of how they did it. More info about Moment factory.

Here’s a video someone took in Seattle which is taken from a side balcony and gives a pretty good idea of how it was set up and the different ways the set was used.

We have come a long way baby…

NIN- my muse