• I’m pleased to announce that I’m going to be speaking at Web Directions South, in Sydney in October of this year.

    My talk is called What Things Are:

    If we’re going to talk about an Internet of Things, we should probably talk about what we mean when we say “thing”.

    So often, when we talk about the “internet of things” it brings to mind images of consumer white goods with Ethernet sockets or Wifi antennas: thermostats; weighing scales; the apocryphal Internet Fridge.

    But that’s a narrow way of thinking that’s perhaps unhelpful: whatever you may think of the term, an “Internet of Things” should embrace the diversity of Thingness.

    So what happens when you think about the diversity of things that might be on the internet, and how they might behave? What about Things that people don’t necessarily own, but borrow, share, or inhabit? Through projects that connected bikes, bridges, and a whole city to the network, let’s think about What Things Are – and what they might be.

    It’s a longer riff on A Lamppost Is A Thing Too, and is probably the final outing for that train of thought. I’m greatly looking forward to it – it’s a cracking lineup – and I’m flattered that WDS invited me. See you in Sydney in a few months!

  • Week 44

    24 August 2013

    Most of the week was taken up with finishing writing – and then finessing – The Material World, the talk I’ve been writing. On Friday night, I delivered a somewhat truncated version of it at LDNIA, which seemed to go down well – a relief.

    The full 45-minute version of it will be at Webdagene in Oslo next month, and I should have a full text of it online shortly after, if you aren’t able to attend.

    One thing that was pleasing to note was that even though the LDNIA version was a bit of a ‘radio edit’, the questions that people asked touched on the section of the talk I left out. That was a good sign for the final version – but also meant we could continue the dialogue in some interesting directions. Thanks to Andrew, Martin and Matthew for inviting me to speak.

    Writing’s always a very intensive process for me, so the rest of the week was spent on some more restful admin tasks. But I also found time to continue some work on Sore: acquiring the last few materials for the installation and preparing them, as well as small tweaks to the code. Next week I’ll be taking it to Brighton to demonstrate to my collaborators and commissioners.

    I also chatted about some interesting new ideas or business proposals.

    One, a discussion with a designer about integrating a particular kind of technology into his work; I’m not expert enough to implement it, but well aware of its limitations, so we discussed some ways to constrain the technological demands and give him a better space to design within. It was a super-interesting conversation, and I look forward to hearing more about it.

    The other was a more straight new business enquiry; not something, in the end, I could take up, but interesting nontheless, and hopefully there’ll be other ways to work with that organisation. My contact there apologised for ‘phoning me up out of the blue’ – but, as I pointed out, this is just how new business works – and as a freelancer, I like to be phoned up out of the blue with an idea or enquiry. Even if I can’t always take it, it might lead to other work in the future – so is always valuable. I’m pretty much tied up til the end of September, but looking for work thereafter, so if you’re interested in the sort of thing I do – do get in touch. And if you aren’t quite sure what I do: email anyway! It’d be good to hear from you.

  • Quick announcement time: I’ll be speaking at Webdagene 2013 in Oslo, September 9th to 11th.

    My talk hasn’t got a formal title yet – it’s quite a way off – but I think – in my head – it’s called something like The New Materiality Of Design.

    Webdagene’s focus is on UX, and so I think it’s appropriate (given their theme of “The Generation Shift”) to explore the new materials that designers need to both work with and be familiar – both invisible and highly tangible. To that end, it’s a continuation of what I said at dConstruct – about playing with things as a way of understanding them – coupled to the thoughts I raised in Technology As A Material.

    There’s a bucket of raw thoughts in Evernote that, over the summer, will get turned into a talk. But for now: a quick note to announce that I’m speaking there, should you be thinking of attending. The rest of the speaking lineup is great, and it should be a thoughtful few days.

    Perhaps see you there!