Reading Response: September 14

“Mashups: The new breed of Web app, An introduction to mashups” Duane Merrill
This reading really helped me to further grasp the technical side of a “mash-up.”  Although I was aware of these applications, I did not consider that it was turning into a genre.  Mashups was discussed to be found in mapping (locations), video and photo (pictures and info), searches and shopping (finding deals), and news (RSS feeds).  When I think about the sites that I go to on a daily basis, or get directed to by friends, a lot of the ones I find practical, worthwhile or interesting are of the Mashup genre.  To my girl friends, we tend to share a lot of the search engine shopping sites that bring together sales of the day.  One of the first I was introduced to two years ago was Shop It To Me. Other news sites I have seen gather your favorites online news pages and show the latest headlines.  For the most part, this has become an entertainment/interest genre.  Many of these sites are starting to look like reiterations of one another.  I agree when Merrill raises interest to find how “the genre impacts social issues such as fair-use and intellectual property as well as other application domains that integrate data across organizational boundaries.”  We must not stop at what we have already seen the Mashups do, but how it can be used in other contexts rather than personal interests and headlines.
“Calm Technologies 2.0: Visualizing Social Data as an Experience ” Michael Hohl
The term “calm technologies” is ironic because a lot of our experiences with technologies are not calm. In face technology brings much more complication into life. When something breaks, we panic. If we forget our cell phone one day, we panic. In the case that the electricity goes out, we panic.  I was interested to see what Hohl introduces the idea that “calm technologies utilizing information visualization where data is not rendered as graphs, charts, or diagrams on the screen , but as a sensual experience in a physical space.” This is something I relate to and actually agree with. I am very much so a hands on person. I like to be in a space, and get a feeling from it. I react to my surroundings.  I love my computer, I also love being away from it. The examples of projects really bring an awareness to how the notification process of information can give a clue to how much time we actually spend online. It brings a physical visualization into our environment which although not filled with colors, and charting patterns, may have a greater impact since we are able to see, hear or “feel” the data.
“A Manifesto for Networked Objects: Why Things Matter”,  Julian Bleeker
Throughout the discussion of a blogject and how a blogject tracks, traces, embeds history, reveals events, and allows for an exchange in ideas I could not help to think that this is no new technology or idea.  In Kindergarten, I remember learning about the Humpback Whales that migrate to Hawaii every winter to breed in warmer waters. This triggered my memory because we learned about how they track the same whales year to year by the prints on their tail fins. Another animal that is tracked is the green sea turtle. The Hawaii Wildlife Foundation uses this data to learn more about the turtle’s journey. Both of these examples are similar to how a the idea of a blogject was first introduced with the idea of a pigeon. These tracking devices tell histories of where these animals have been. In a certain way I think that my 7×7 project is a type of “blogject.”  The bottles itself contain items that track what I did that day, my experiences and reactions. It is a type of personal mapping that I will always have to look back to if I wanted to re-live this past week.
Grey Album Producer Danger Mouse Explains How He Did It
I heard the Grey Album before, but I did not know the back story of who did it and how.  This article is just one way to showcase how much time an artist or designer puts into a successful piece of work.  When someone is good at something, they make it look easy. The final product is seamless because they are highly qualified or worked hard to do their job. In this case, I never put a second thought into The Grey Album, and how difficult it was to produce.  Reading about how Danger Mouse had to deconstruct each song and break down the musical beats, I started to appreciate the album a lot more.  To know that he paid attention to every detail brings more value to the work.  The fact that it was controversial, but he continued makes it better.  With anything a person creates, they must do it because they want to, not because they are told to. “I just made sure it was something I would dig myself.” –Danger Mouse

7×7: Messages in a Bottle

Assignment: Complete one project a day for seven days.  This started off as a very challenging task, but as I started incorporate my new lifestyle and adjusting to New York into it, the process was much more natural.  Being far from home, a lot of people want to know what I am doing here.  Since Hawaii is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, I decided work with the idea of sending home a “message in a bottle.” Everyday, I intended to try something new, make a new observation, or do something that I could visually contain in this bottle to send home and show others.  To see where I went and what I collected, view my 7×7 Presentation.

As I documented each day physically through collecting artifacts of my daily adventures, I also wrote.  These pages can be found in the back of the box containing all of the bottles. Here you can find my personal daily reflections.

After complete the project series, I learned a lot about myself. Sometimes I don’t actively focus on my feelings and reactions to experiences I have. The day moves by so quickly, and being busy allows me to forget that I everyday there is something to be learned. Read more about my thought process in my project write-up.

I enjoyed this exploration because I can look at back everyday of this past week and know exactly how I felt and what I did that day, just by the few visual momentos I collected in the bottles. I think this idea could be taken further digitally.  Maybe it is not reasonable to collect 365 bottles for everyday of the year, but through taking pictures and documenting thoughts, I could do the same thing and have an on-going online website. This would be a challenge I would like to see myself continue!


Snail Mail Kit: Connecting Friends, the Old-Fashioned Way!

Assignment: Re-Design a Social Network

Concept: Today, we are being introduced to new ways of connecting with friends using technologies and a majority of internet-based networks. Although this is great at keeping in touch, we are losing “touch” of what it was like to receive a hand-written, personal letter.  There is nothing more personal and sentimental than receiving a letter from someone and knowing that it traveled some type of distance to physically get to you.

Although my initial thought was to create a simplified bulletin board post social network, I slowly realized in my process that what I was creating was moving in a different direction from what I believed in.  This is where “Snail Mail” really started to develop. “Snail Mail” creates a social network the “old-fashioned” way.

How it Works: The key components of “Snail Mail” was to first send a letter to three friends. When you do this you also send two additional note cards and postage so that person has the opportunity to send their own mail to another friend.  This is where the “network” is created.  Whether the person decides to send mail back to you, or to two new friends, it opens up communication through letters.  It is a conversation starter, a trail maker, and a friend connector.

Here is my complete Snail Mail Presentation with pictures and my thought process.