Starting sketches

Written by on 15th September 2011 in Sketches, Thoughts with Leave a comment

Here’s a few sketches that hopefully sort of better explain some of the ideas for initial starting points below. They sort of range from interface/software, software/hardware, hardware/environment.

I understand the benefit of doing more writing at the beginning, but for me sketches and diagrams tend to act as an extension of writing and it’s hard for me to think about things without drawing some thing. I also find it easier to make sure other people are sort of envisioning the same things I am. Also, I just really enjoy drawing these little comics to explain ideas, and I would love to incorporate this sort of thing throughout the process.

The Zombie-mail thing is this sort of weird little idea that’s been nagging at me since I was in Colorado this summer @ the Personal Geographies workshop with Jonathan Harris. During one of his talks he sort of passingly said someone else once said “answering emails is like killing zombies, they just keep coming back” and I thought it was brilliant. And then later that night (while enjoying some margaritas with my fellow classmates at a Mexican restaurant in Aspen) I remembered this cheesy old game called Typing of the Dead and thought, why can’t answering emails be JUST AS FUN as killing zombies? And it’s sort of been sitting in my brain for a few months. I’ve talked to my friend Sean (from the workshop) about the idea a bit and think it would be fun to collaborate with him on it since he has a game design background. But I haven’t talked to many other people about it yet, and I sort feel like I need to ask around to see if the idea has legs. But at the same time, I sort of just want to make it regardless!

High-level hack-crafts: I would really like to just generate a lot of different tutorials for making things with technology that doesn’t involve having to learn how to read a resistor. We already have so many powerful computing devices and tons of apps developed by other people. Why not just take advantage of what they already have to offer? I think a really interesting experiment for me was our early Telesecret project which took advantage of a remote webcam viewing app and creating a physical “case” that was tailored to how we wanted to use the app in the real world. I don’t know if it even matters that much what the end things are but I feel like a collection of various projects might as a whole be part of the greater idea. Howtoons sort of gets at the idea of empowering kids to craft things together, but it’s generally not taking advantage of any technology. And while things like Fashioning Technology are cool for integrating craft and tech, I’m starting to get a little bored of LEDs sewn into different things. Also a little turned off by the cost of getting into hobby electronics. I think for most people it takes up both too much time and money. If we’re using more readily available (and reusable) electronic “brains” then maybe it would be more approachable.

Computer Arcade? This last one I feel hasn’t incubated for quite as long in my head but I do have a general interest in working with larger-scale spaces that involve technology. Maybe it doesn’t have to be a fully responsive gigantic interactive architectural facade. What if we scale it back to the most boring place to possibly use a computer. Why are computer labs so awful and assembly line like? I imagine it mostly has to do with budget and the fact that they are set up by IT folk who generally prefer order and uniformity across the system for “fairness”. But if we’re interested in getting different people inspired to create interesting things with computers maybe it would be helpful to not make it seem like working with a computer means having to be droid in a computing factory. Instead of us conforming our bodies to  machine-like order and repetition, why not free the machines (and ourselves) to enjoy more human-like randomness & discovery? I’m especially interested in labs because it’s a place where people who don’t already have access to their own machines would go. I’m not terribly interested in making Starbucks a better place for your laptop.


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