Open Web Vancouver

I’m attending (and presenting at) Open Web Vancouver next week, celebrating (and problematizing) with many others the many affordances and limitations of open source and open formats in our digitally mediated world. My talk will likely be rather policy-wonkish, as a current concern of mine (and a crucial chapter in my dissertation research) is that of the potential impact of broad public participation in wireless and mobile internet policy development. If you haven’t yet, register here. The leader of the Pirate Party is keynoting, so it’s well worth the hundred and eighty five clams, to my mind.

Hope to see you there.

Convergence 2009, as it happens

9:32 AM: David Plouffe about to start…

9:38 AM – introductions, Sauder school of business. iPhoto/Flickr not working well…

9:40 – Plouffe on stage, obligatory Sarah Palin joke

9:42 – not just a winning campaign but a credible grassroots campaign – “social media embedded in our DNA” from the start

9:45 – challenges going against Clinton. have a strategy. adjust strategy, not tactics.

9:48 – not that it was online fundraising, which everyone does, but the composition of the campaign. who the people were, the quality of the people…

9:51 – eventually the Obama campaign force the McCains to play on their turf.

9:55 – diversity. Iowa was essential in the race.

9:56 – “demographics is destiny”

9:57 – this room is terrible for taking pictures. massive backlighting from fog soaked Burrard Inlet

9:59 – strove to make the demographics younger, more multiracial. recruited voters with no voting history. simple radio ads, online ads, texting – here’s where you vote. here’s where you caucus.

10:00 – lookout tool, tracking new voters.

10:02 – looked at eary voter demographics to analyze them, focus grouped them = market intelligence on younger, newer voters.

10:03 – iPhone app, other technologies – used to register voters. volunteers did it for free.

10:05 – “palling around with terrorists” – voters don’t take this stuff at face value.

10:07 – Macbook Pro battery going to die soon. I cna’t believe it’s down to 40 minutes of wifi/Firefox use! back to the shop! sorry if I drop out…

10:10 – direct news to supporters via video etc. “wanted them to hear from us first”.

11:43 – spent some time helping the Fearless/W2 crew at the VJ table outside 211. Will miss panels until our soundcheck @12:30.

13:38 – more of same. good lunch. I will be in a panel at 2:05 PM. Should be live streamed.

14:00: my panel came and went. went well. mobile polling glitched out.

15:15-16:00: discover via Jim Udall that not just mobile polling but also the whole service point seems to be not receiving SMS, despite streams working just fine. My laptop becomes the videostream layer in the VJ mix for a time…testing of the service point continues: Fido, Rogers, Bell phones all fail to send SMS…

16:00: conclude after numerous tests and Jim’s scripts that it’s Fido’s fault that the SMS are not going through. somehow Jim pushed the polling responses through – so at least the data is now available for later crunching…

16:15: gotta go – family responsibilities call…

summer summer summer summer/it’s like a merry-go-round

Perhaps it would be more appropriate for me to entitle this post with a reference to Cheap Trick’s “Surrender” (given that Isabel has mysteriously begun singing “mummy’s alright/and daddy’s alright/and baby’s alright/bla bla bla etc…” – where’d she get that? her new nanny? SFU childcare? hopefully no one’s introducing her to that lame Guitar Hero crapola) rather than The Cars as I have done, but given how things have been unfolding around here I think the Rik Ocasek lyric is most appropriate. And I blurt all this even though I should be disassociating myself from 20C Top 40 posthaste, given the maturation and crustification of my tastes (I mostly listen to music from various parts of Africa now. Western pop is becoming increasingly foreign and bewildering to me, and calm down, I’m not bragging or anything – it’s simply the way it’s playing out for me at the ripe old age of 37. Like I care anymore what anyone thinks).

Hello self-indulgent LJ-land. Anyhoo, the merry-go-round. Ah, well, it’s an exaggeration, really. I just have a bunch of conferences coming up. Cossette Convergence next week (part of Vancouver Digital Week), CCA at the end of the month, Open Web Vancouver and Communicating Cities in June. I’m also teaching a 2nd year course (CMNS 253) at SFU this summer, which promises to take up much time. So, retainer firmly in mouth (temporary speech impediment on), I’m talking lots this summer: about tech, about the history of broadcasting, the internet and new media, and about the pervasive (mobile) social web’s potential to afford broader social inclusion, emancipation, and revolutionary change in the nodes in which it is activated.

That, and I thought I’d post because I’m totally stoked about the first Android phones coming to Canada. I want one. I want everyone to have one. Open mobiles, baby!

Massive Technology Show (Vancouver, April 1) as it happens

6S/Capulet/Peer1 panelists
6S/Capulet/Peer1 panelists

torn btw liveblogging and tweeting. what is the appopriate or trendy thing to do for conferences/panels now?

listening to Peer1/6S/Capulet panel right now.(11:08 AM)

Richard Smith: throwing “business sheep”. heh.

why does the assumption that TV and radio are not interactive media prevail? let’s not forget our media history, or we’ll repeat its mistakes. (11:12 AM)

Julie Szabo: don’t let marketers blog. let the project managers do that (11:25 AM)

Julie again: bloggers aren’t media journalists. Don’t shout your message at them. Interact with them, get to know them (11:29 AM).

Jen of 6S: twittering while waiting on hold with Rogers (instead of making an angry post-facto blog post) was effective in getting her call answered (11:32 AM).

Jen again: traditional PR materials are inappropriate for the blogosphere – can’t just re-post them there. (11:40 AM)

My revised view on “what’s appropriate” for liveblogging events – limit tweets (if feeding into yr Facebook), stick with a blog, or use some filter on your tweets to keep them out of networks (like FB) that might have a low threshold for tolerating yr constant updates. Will, friendfeed or microplaza solve this problem? (11:45 AM)

update: April 3 – no frickin power plugs in here. WTF? here’s why only one panel gets coverage.

Vancouver Digital Week, Cossette Convergence 09, and the Future of Mobile

Vancouver Digital Week is coming up soon (May 11-14), and it’s a must-attend for anyone in the New/Social/Mobile Media scenes in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, it’s an international must-attend event (even GDC is part of it this year, so it’s going to be huge in 2009!). So all you folks outside of Vaneattleland should be coming here too!

Kicking off the week on May 11th is the ever-engrossing Cossette Convergence conference, at which I will be presenting (as part of a panel called “Mobile Marketing: Are we at the tipping point?“). The program description is as follows:

Mobile marketing and applications are not new, but many marketers have been sitting on the sidelines watching savvy wireless wizards forge new relationships on emerging platforms.  Has mobile marketing finally reached the tipping point in 2009?  Learn the latest developments in mobile and leave this session appreciating the role mobile will have in the coming year and how you can best integrate mobile or build an entire campaign around this burgeoning technology.

I’ll also be demonstrating the Mobile Muse platform for the audience. Looks like so much fun!

Did I mention the keynote at Cossette this year is none other than David Plouffe, chief campaign manager for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign?

You excited now? I said “Obama” – that should’ve done it.

Open Mobile

I’m presenting a keynote this Sunday for an event called Open Mobile, presented in part by Mobile Muse as part of New Forms Festival 2008. I’m co-presenting with Roland Tanglao and Jesse Scott (artist info here), who will be my visual accompanists. But hopefully their visuals will override and scramble my messages such that the audience comes away more confused than I am going in. No, seriously. It should be a good opportunity to talk about mobiles with a highly creative audience, fresh from ArtCamp and other New Forms goings-on.

Here’s the abstract for my talk in draft form:

Opening Mobiles, Community Activation and the One Wireless Web
It was once said that the Sony Walkman, not love, would tear us apart. Contrary to these claims about mobile privatization, whereby individuating technologies are said to produce alienated populations running around in mobile media cocoons, and for some quite unexpectedly, the diffusion of advanced mobile devices and applications offers new opportunities to build and activate communities, invoking a radical reconstruction of media, art production, intellectual property, and public space. Ubiquitous, open, mobile, and accessible internetworking technologies, heralded by portable wi-fi devices such as the Nokia N95 or Apple’s iPhone, will enable us to continue the legacy of our tethered social media cloud – media sharing, wikis, tagging, twemes – in a radically different space than we’re used to (or one that we’ve simply forgotten about somewhat): public space. This is contested terrain, with a complex political economy, but the potential for a ubiquitous mobile web is now too alluring to ignore. This talk will navigate the mobile web space with one eye on media history and political economy, and another eye on the accompanying VJ screen, to assess how the speaker’s messages are being scrambled while this all unfolds.

Check out the Open Mobile Eventbrite page for more details about speakers, times, location and so forth.

Update: Here’s a compressed PDF of my presentation. I’ll post a link to the video later on…

MUSE3 BCNET presentation

I had the opportunity last week to present my ongoing research into user-centered technology design (which is what is evolving out of my ethnographic research in the lives of mobile handset users) as part of a panel all about Mobile Muse (where I’m the Program Manager, for those who aren’t aware of this).

A webcast of the proceedings is available here. Here are slides for the full presentation, and here (more for my own concept archiving sanity than for anything else, really) are my slides extracted from that set.

Some of the same ideas from prior talks I’ve given about the mobile divide are revisited here, but in the context of a more proactive problem orientation. Here I’m asking: how is technology developed in ways that are directly informed and influenced by the communities of users most affected by them, and how is this tech disseminated in ways that are socially beneficial?.

MUSE3 is an excellent opportunity, I’m finding, for looking at the processes of intermediation that go on in the building of new things. At the intersection of network engineers, open source and other sorts of coders, mobile handset companies, government agencies, artist-run centres and a cavalcade of people and organizations with an interest in the potential of mobile technology, many complex interactions are going on that contribute, bit by bit, to whatever technological assemblage is going to emerge. Fascinating stuff, really. Here’s hoping my notes are as meticulous as they need to be…

MUSE3, public displays, NV08 & Fusion recap

MUSE3 CMNS planning whiteboardI’m chin-deep in MUSE3 planning (excuse the outdated site at them thar preceding link – that’s part of what I’m working on), gearing up for our Showcase Proposal Forum this Friday (check back on Friday morning with that link for the webcast), adjusting my Web 2 specs after all the Northern Voice interaction last weekend, reading about commercial applications** for live public displays, listening back and forth between Bob Dylan, M.I.A. and Wire, trying to think when I’ll get time to get back at the comps.

**Akoo International sees much commercial potential in growing its mVenue network of interactive public displays. This is quite similar to MUSE3’s plans, with the caveat that we are also looking to create live public displays as just that – public digital space, not more sites for strictly commercial exchanges to happen in public**

Northern Voice was, as usual, great for chatting and renewing/starting acquaintanceships that make sense in the fuzzy, biz/social tech scene in Vancouver – which is more and more resembling an indie music scene, just with more computers in it. The content was more engrossing for me than last year, esp Alan Levine’s 50 Ways to Tell a Web 2.0 Story. While I shouldn’t complain (I did have a slot to present my research [PDF download], after all, for which I’m very grateful and honoured to be selected!) there were times in a few sessions when I felt a bit out-barked. The emphasis on adhocracy in the structure of some sessions tends to make shouting out of turn the way to be heard. More than once this happened, and I imagine others in attendance (who might’ve had valuable comments to make) may have also felt left out of some discussions. Anyway, that’s my .02 cents on how to improve the loose moose dimension of NV (can I get a mod please!), which in every other regard was fun, lively and highly informative.

I also made some interesting contacts after presenting on my mobile research last week at New Media BC’s Fusion Digital Venture Forum, which was a great prelude to NV. Thanks to Kelly, Adam and the rest at NMBC for putting me on the bill at the last minute, and to the audience for tolerating my wiggy tech.

Northern Voice 2008 Day Two – accreted notes


Alan Levine. cogdogblog. voicethread. the internet is really big.

Lost in Vancouver

really hilar cinderella story told through PPT.

jumpcut=imovie in a web browser

googlemaps api with Flickr,


14:15-15:00 –

Kris Krüg and Alex Waterhouse Hayward. “The Other Side of Two Dimensions”

lots of pictures. thinking in 3D is what we do with digital photography and not with analog?

Kris: what are we losing?

Walter Benjamin is sadly not present (e.g., these same arguments were leveled at photography when it emerged, versus painting). the debates runneth under?



Susie Gardner – widgets

gawd the wi-fi sux.

slick Dilbert widget.

yeah I’m done buggering around with my prez (many fuzzy pics due to compression needs – some content revised from Nokia presentation last Fall, but much more added in). widgets. How to put it in blogger.

etsy – building widgets. you can sell things


polls and surveys.

Northern Voice 2008 – accreted notes

SkylightsRough notes from today’s conference…

13:30-14:00: An afternoon discussion with a Vancouver City Planner, a rep from, some guy from Portland, and many others.
the challenges for cities=adopting social media for public participation initiatives.

how do people get something back? more than just “thanks for coming”. stewardship is important. but how do we get people unplugged and back in the community, actively participating.

Irwin: it’s a conservative time, politically. lockdown mentality within city staff and bureaucracy.


laptop labyrinth14:00-14:30 – TransitCamp: sign the letter. translink is not open. we want open data.


14:30-15:00 How do people learn on mobiles? Awesome. Low turnout, however.

shoeco is a fictional shoe store mobsite. how would such a propietor learn how to use it? using wordpress with mobiles. it works.

simple wordpress widget.where can I d/l it?

lappy room onlymy post didn’t work.

interfaces are “brutal”

how do we condense knowledge into mobile-sized pieces? that’s what he’s seeking to solve here. – how would i do that “while i’m driving along”?


15:30-16:00: Megan Cole’s Social Media

couldn’t hear anything, froze almost to death


freezing to death

Chris Heurer and Roland Tanglao on mobile blogging

mobile blogging=video, audio, multimedia blogging

what tool is appropriate for what circumstance?

I asked: why the candid sharing of media? why not work with a script? Roland thinks it’s a difference btw old/new paradigms. I’m not so sure.

publicity/privacy issues act as a mediating membrane of sorts.


Scott & Roland

Kate in Terminal