02 December 2014
Some of these Things are not like the others was a a talk I gave at Web Directions South, in Sydney, in 2014. It’s the last variation of a talk I’ve been developing over 2014, about connected objects and, specifically, about connected objects for shared and civic usage. I gave a version of this, entitled A Lamppost Is A Thing Too at Solid in the summer of 2014. This is the longest, most complete version of it, and so I’ve preserved it here, derived from the script I spoke from.
01 March 2014
Four focuses this week:
- continued work on Contributoria, in advance of the March issue going live on Saturday the first. Mainly tidying up loose ends, adding a few useful features, getting things shipshape.
- a day fettling the Hello Lamppost code, in advance of two installations of it.
- working on my talk for Random String, which was coming together after a day, but will still need some time in the week before the event to really haul its disparate influences together.
- continuing to prod some hardware/software integration tests for Hutton. As part of that, I shared my somewhat-documented demonstration code on Github. It’s a very straightforward demo – retrieving a random number from a web server via an Electric Imp, and then pushing that number over a simple serial protocol to an Arduino. It doesn’t do much, other than illustrate how the components fit together.
Except: it’s an end-to-end demo. It covers each part of the service – Arduino code to handle serial data; Squirrel code for the Imp to request data and process it – and more Squirrel for the agent to make the HTTP request and return it to the device. Now all that remains is to swap out the server being used, the data being sent, and the representation of that data on the Arduino. By understanding the end-to-end process, I’m now in a better place to focus on the unique aspects of my implementation. It felt worth sharing, as it’s a little conceptual hump to get over.
And the usual comms management: handling inquiries about my availability, meeting people to talk about future projects. My March is wall-to-wall busy, with two talks to write and deliver, more work on Contributoria, some IOT work, a workshop for BBC R&D, and, if there’s time, a bit more work on Hutton. Blimey. For now: onwards.
17 February 2014
A week of being head down. Primarily, on Contributoria: working up lots of new templates and a new workflow, discussing this with Dean and solving a lot of problems; fixing a few issues and deploying the new features.
When I wasn’t doing that, I spent an afternoon poking some electronics for a project I’m calling Hutton. Most of the time was spent with an Electric Imp, and I was really impressed with the out-of-box experience: not too long to get it connected, and with some canniness, there’s a lot you can do. It’s certainly a very responsive platform, and I can see myself using it a lot in the future. Otherwise, I was mainly soldering headers onto devboards and just poking some libraries. I hope to return to Hutton in week 71 – both the web-end of things, a browser-based prototype, and then rigging up some components that were befuddling me last week and seeing if a physical demo is possible.
And, in amongst all that: the usual tranches of email and planning, which never get faster.
Oh, and I almost forgot: we got to announce that Hello Lamp Post had been nominated for Designs of the Year. Needless to say, Ben, Sam, Gyorgyi and I are all very proud.
10 February 2014
I’m delighted to be able to announce that Hello Lamppost, which I worked on with PAN Studio and Gyorgyi Galik as the inaugural winner of the 2013 Playable City Award, has been shortlisted in the digital category for Designs of the Year 2014.
It’s great company to be nominated amongst – Bare Conductive, Citymapper, and Oculus Rift to name a few – and we’re looking forward to showing Hello Lamppost off in the awards exhibition, from March 26. Rather exciting.
13 November 2013Driftwood is a talk I gave at Playark 2013. It was meant to be a talk about leftovers (the theme of the conference being ‘reclaim’), and about Hello Lamp Post. In the writing, it turned into a broader overview of my own work – on six years of projects around cities and play. I was quite pleased with how it turned out, and wanted to share it on the web. (This is a roughly edited version of the script I spoke from).