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approaching a local maxima

Did you see the Portugal v. Netherlands match? Meu Deus! Portugal advanced, and now Rachel, Mike and I will cheer on our boys against England. I must admit, I’ve enjoyed cheering on the English since Garry taught us the chants and songs in the Mad Dog years ago. My favorite? Versus the Germans, “Two World Wars and One World Cup” works pretty damn well.

Never thought I’d be forced to root against England. Damn shame.

Especially because today I finalized on tickets for the vacation we’ve been planning for a bit – we’ll be headed to London to visit friends and celebrate some birthdays (mine included). If you’ll be in town second week of August and looking to have a bite (especially at St. John), do let me know.

Meanwhile, Adam spoke at AP. We all got an opportunity to eat at Koh Samui afterwards, and discuss the implications of his “Everyware” presentation. His thoughts on the necessity of exposing the “seamfullness” of location-aware systems in the future is something that’s been on my mind of late, with regards to what both Dan and Nick Carr have been citing as the generational effect of technological development.

I’m convinced that for the first decade of development and popularization of RFID and ubicomp systems (is 2006 to be considered Year One?) the experience will be inherently seamfull – I think of it like the spread of cellular networks, with deadzones appearing on the edges and in-between every area of service, ultimately to the frustration of most users. I’m inclined to think that there will be an entire generation of people with no choice but to be aware of the change in state as they move from data-enriched environments to traditional “flat space” and back again.

If the system emerges with obvious seams, and no means or standards to even come close to ensuring a frictionless experience, will the generation that follows be inclined to reduce the perception of those seams between overlapping systems? Or will they persist as vestigial alerts on whatever interfaces they employ, like the subtle changes in provider status message my phone registers as I move from Louisville, to New York and back to SF? Food for thought.

To wrap it all up, Will Wright and Brian Eno spoke tonight at the Herbst Theater. All 900 seats sold out, and you couldn’t swing a dead cat over your head without hitting a blogger. I’m sure you can find a write-up if you look around. My own thoughts on “one pixel errors,” generative systems, and the pursuit of ultimate success probability spaces vs. local maxima will find their way into a post (maybe), once everything that was discussed has a chance to sort itself out in my brain properly.

In the meantime? Pictures from McCormack and Elaine’s wedding!

  1. June 27, 2006 at 1:14 am

    Re: Seams and louisville. If you installed ‘Merkitys’ / Meaning (on an s60 mobile) then you can feel the seams. It’s a little flickr uploader app that sniffs cell ID and attaches it as metadata – the twist being that you give each confluence of Cell IDs a name – which could be ‘real’ geographical names or a more arbitrary, personal geography e.g. ‘Louisville’ or ‘Joe’s House’

    But – there’s a ‘learning’ mode to Merkitys, where the app just vibrates the phone when you move over a ‘seam’ into a new location. It’s fascinating to feel cells as you walk around the city.

    Merkitys: http://meaning.3xi.org/

  2. AG
    June 27, 2006 at 10:56 am

    Matt, I’m surprised you didn’t take this opportunity to introduce some of the material you and Mr. Webb gathered into your Aula talk, which is so directly relevant here: Quinn’s electromagnetic sense, the everyware-mediated extension of sensory awareness into the city, and so on.

    FWIW, Ryan, I totally agree with your gut take on the inherent seamfulness of the first few years of the everyware era. My question is whether the junctures between systems and experiences will ever be what Mark Weiser called “beautiful seams,” or whether they’ll merely be stumbling blocks and pitfalls.

  3. June 27, 2006 at 11:35 am

    Matt – Merkitys sounds like a hell of a neat utility to employ. I am, sadly, unaware of an equivalent for my Sony-Ericsson.

    Adam, I knew you had a response to my point when I raised it at dinner, and I neglected to record it appropriately. Thank you for restating it here. You are correct, that it remains to be seen what the overall experience of these seams will be – I, for one, hope they are as pleasant as can be, “beautfiful,” even.

    Those seams, the gaps between systems… last night Brian Eno talked about the composer’s trick of establishing a regular rhythm that sets up expectations on the part of the listener – and the power of taking a single anticipated beat away. The introduction of rhytmic gaps in a landscape the audience already thought it knew – there seems to be a perciptible parallel to how we’ll experience breaks and gaps between ubiquitious systems in the future. Much like those missing beats, the “beauty” of these seams may be in their ability to inspire feelings of mild disorientation, or the appreciation of environmental “negative space.”

  4. July 8, 2006 at 4:57 pm

    Olá ! 🙂

    Portugal acabou de perder 3-1 com a Alemanha mas foi óptimo ter chegado onde chegámos.

    Mandei um e-mail para a Adaptive Path acerca de umas perguntas sobre como me poderiam ajudar numas ideias q eu tenho q n consigo desenvolver cá em Portugal e “surpresa das surpresas” agora descobri q existe aí um bocadinho de Portugal também 🙂

    Peço desculpa o post só estar em português.

  5. July 12, 2006 at 10:20 am

    Muito obrigado para seu comentårio! Tenho que aprender mais portuguese para responder a meus leitores portugueses. Escreve outra vez logo.

  6. July 12, 2006 at 10:32 am

    Visite muledesign.com. Somos superiors aos palhasos de Adaptive Path e eu fala muito bem Portugues.

  7. catarino
    July 12, 2006 at 1:37 pm

    I can write in english If needed… but if you want to train your portuguese just say so 😉

    abraço

  8. February 6, 2007 at 2:23 am

    eu fala portugese um boccadinho, eu tenho dois filhos, chama-se A Farai e A Tonderai. eu moro em Zimbabwe Eu secretary na Universidade do Zimbabwe.

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