Reading Response- Harnessing the Power of Feedback Loops

Harnessing the Power of Feedback Loops
By Thomas Goetz
Goetz mentioned the example of radar sensors being set up across towns. The sensors attach to a big digital readout announcing “Your Speed.” As a result drivers slowed an average of 14 percent. I know this happened in the town I grew up in and the results were similar. He addresses the term “feedback loop” and explains that data, presented to people about their driving actions makes it have an emotionally factor that sticks with people. They immediately see consequence and as a result change their action. Goetz mentions Albert Bandura’s concept of self-efficacy. Bandura believed that the more we believe we can meet a goal, the more likely we will do so. Sensors can help solve problems and capture behavioral data. Ultimately Goetz explains that sensors allow people to “set and achieve better-defined, more ambitious goals and curb destructive behaviors, replacing them with positive actions.” This is an optimistic view and I support the idea because people need to recognize their shortcomings and by sensors pointing them out they can change their behavior.

Shwetak Patel invented technology that provides remote care for the elderly. He used a stack of algorithms that could differentiate household appliances used for cooking, washing, etc.  By measuring resource consumption in the home society is encouraged to change their excessive usage of energy. We all can work on conserving water, gas and electricity. The example of the GlowCap really grabbed my full attention. I saw first hand how it was hard for my grandparents to remember their medications daily and keep track of what they took. This invention is remarkable. The GlowCap goes on top of the pill bottle and is a continuous feedback loop encouraging patients to take their medications. The information is delivered unobtrusively but noticeably and family can even be texted if the blinking light is not enough, or small beeping sounds. This is a great tool that I’m sure would be very useful in nursing homes and for all elderly patients.

Reading Response Mashups

Mashups: The new breed of Web app
An introduction to mashups
I was not familiar with the term “mashup” so this was a great article for getting an overview of the technical aspects. I had a vague idea that is dealt with music, but really never realized the full extent of Web 2.0 and how much I used it all the time. I learned that a mashup is formed with external data sources to create new services. For example, draws data from the outside. It composites crime and maps the data visually. There are also video, photo,  news and shopping mashups that I use often. Kathryn showed us and during class which is a good tool for creating mood boards. From this reading I became familiar with the term “screen scraping”. It is a tool that extract’s the user data. There are some deficiencies with screen scrapping because of updates and dependence on outside data. People are needed to fix and clean up the data because the automation isn’t accurate. Mashups include data input from the public but it has to be monitored for incorrect data. There are security concerns and people who disable Javascript can’t contribute data. Then the article addresses the topic intellectual property, rights managed material and overall consumer privacy versus public domain. In our generation I believe the public domain space will become more and more popular.


Calm Technologies 2.0: 
Visualizing Social Data as an Experience in Physical Space
This article addressed connectivity of an object to a website. It mentioned geotagged images (include the geographical latitude and longitude) where the image was takenon a map. Vlastaras writes, “[…] every time somebody visits my website, an led light blinks once in my room, and I get a warm feeling of a visitor.” This shows how people can have a physical experience from the virtual site.  The bell and fan examples discussed  I found extremely fascinating because they connect the site visitor to physical office space.

Why Things Matter
Julian Bleecker, Ph.
“Blogject”  are essentially objects, that blog. Julian claims that they participate in the exchange of ideas. Further she explains that Blogjects don’t just publish, they circulate conversations. She used an interesting example of how a Pigeon that Blogs a mash-up through GPS, GSM communications technology.  A  sensor tracks pollution and tracks it on Google Maps. Julian explains that Pigeons can tell us about the quality of the air we breath. Who would have thought that birds have the ability to effect change. She points out in the article that behaviors change especially when we are threatened. She concludes that a Blogject is “to make, disseminate and enhance meaning, to draw attention and to be assertive.” She claims it is a design imperative and I agree it can be a beneficial thing in our generation. She questions how the Internet of Things can become like a framework for us (society) to develop and design habitable things and improve our world.

Grey Album Producer Danger Mouse Explains How He Did It
Beatles/Jay-Z mash-up took two weeks of nearly nonstop work.
By Corey Moss
This article addressed my initial idea as to what a mashup is. I listen to music by and they have fantastic examples of mashups. They do it to videos and songs. It’s quite remarkable and I highly recommend listening to them. Don’t Stop Believin is my favorite! Corey article addresses an artist who mixed albums.  When the mashup-er heard Jay-Z’s cappella version of The Black Album, he decided to blend it with the Beatles’ well-known The White Album and compose The Grey Album. The mashup-er measured the amount of beats per minute for each track and layered the separate tracks.

7 in 7

View my project presentation here: 7 in 7-d9-14-11mg

In seven days I was asked to create a new project from start to finish daily. In hindsight I see that across my projects there is a theme of environment and improvement. I am constantly aware of my surroundings and observe the environment I am in. I find myself being interested in cutting edge technology while I still have a great appreciation towards the natural. I am also interested in creating safe and healthy environments where I feel stable, protected, and goal oriented. Through 7 in 7 I have a better understanding of what types of environments I appreciate.   A few of these projects I was commissioned to do and I included them in my 7 in 7. Those projects too focus on bettering yourself (through exercise), bettering the environment (radioactivity detection system), and bettering the safety of society. Across my projects there is a chain link of collaborative effort and commitment to team goals. Even with the wall art in my apartment I found myself questioning my roommate, “What do you think? Do you like it? Is there anything you want to add?”. I also ask those same questions to my clients when going over logos and branding for their companies.

Reading Response- Week 1

Wired Magazine
Great Wall of Facebook
I was not aware how much of a rivalry was between google and facebook. Structure, design and utility as Fogelstein writes is at the core of the battle. The competition involves racing each other to who can make more revenue with online brand advertising. I was surprised to read that Facebook had about 40,000 servers. I never really thought about how their data is stored up until now. I use Facebook daily to stay connected to friends and family. Facebook executives are always trying to make the experience online more meaningful and personal. I agree with Fogelstein’s strong comment about Facebook being “right up there with Gutenberg and Marconi”. I do agree it is a revolution. Facebook’s privacy settings are important and I also agree with the comment Zuckerberg made about google at it’s extreme is invading the privacy of society. (Especially with site like

The New York Times
The Web Means the End of Forgetting
“The internet records everything and forgets nothing”,  Rosen makes a key point here that reminded me to be cautious with my postings online. We all have public digital files ad the internet as Rosen mentions never seems to forget anything is quite threatening. Mayer Schonberger wrote, “without some form of forgetting, forgiving becomes a difficult undertaking.” I don’t think we have second chances online. It’s a challenge to preserve our identites in a digital world that never forgets as Rosen points out. “Think B4 U Post!” was an interesting campaign. I found it fascinating that Reputation Defender can monitor your online reputation and contact sites that have offending material posted. Never knew that existed and I’m curious what their client base is like. Spokeo and pipl are creepy. The TigerText erases messages after a set amount of time and I would be curious to see how many people use this application. Mail Goggles is funny and I agree completely with Jeff Rosen’s final point about how our character can’t be judged from Facebook and Google profiles. That evaluation can only be done face-to-face to be fair and forgiving.
Natural User Interfaces Are Not Natural
Article discusses how speech, gestures, touch and vision all relate in designing interfaces. I thought it was interesting how across cultures gestures mean completely different things. It was funny when the author wrote about Nintendo Wii and the releasing of the bowling ball caused users to throw the ball because it felt natural. As a result of this human action Nintendo had to manufacture a controller with a wrist strap to prevent TVs from breaking because a remote was thrown at it. the article also mentions how gestures involve switches, hand-held devices, gloves and keyboards. Gesture based systems as the author notes includes people with learning curves. People with handicaps have to be considered. I’ll keep these tips in mind when designing projects at Parsons.
Things That Make Us Smart
Donald Norman
Norman writes the most important tool is paper and pencil. He notes, “A book is a cognitive tool only for those who know how to read, but even then, what kind of tool it is depends upon how the reader employs it. A book cannot serve reflective thought unless the reader knows how to reason, to reflect upon the material”. He discusses how representations are abstractions and how we value what we can measure or represent. There are complementary qualities between human and computer processing as Norman points out in the Tic-Tac-Toe example. “Representation that match our perceptual capabilities are simpler and easier to use than those that require reflection…with the appropriate choice of representation, hard taks become easy”. I found this quote to wrap up the examples he addressed about the maps, tally marks, and  the importance of hue. These are all elements that I will also consider when designing future projects at Parsons.
You Are Not a Gadget
Jason Lanier
Lanier makes an interesting point about how changing the height on one’s avitar increases self-esteem and social self-perception.  ( I would like that, haha)
“It only takes a tiny group of engineers to create technology that can share the entire future of human experience with incredible speed. Therefore, crucial arguments about the human relationship with technology should take place between developers and users before such direct manipulations are designed” –This is a powerful statement filled with great responsibilities for designers and developers to society. It’s a bit frightening, but at the same time an exciting idea that we have control over our work. We must be very careful with our design choices. We have to struggle through and recognize mistakes. I’m sure I’ll be doing that over the next two years while working on my MFA.