No scribbles this week. After last week’s mini-vacation from all the things was just good enough to keep a few notes for what was notable.
Can say this much, there’s a pointing to clarity for this initiate which has been gained thru these reads and a few more. Much more to unveil as it happens, as items are ready to be shared.
Excited to have participated once again with the From A Future discussion/conference. An extremely multi-medium conference, it happens physically in Hong Kong, but virtually globally. Which is good. Avanceé is based in the USA, on the East Coast, a clear 12 hours behind the physical attendees. This lends itself to a unique dynamic - all attendees have to maintain a cross-connect of awareness to what’s happening both in space and cyberspace.
One could admit to some bias in this year’s discussion. The topic - protopia (inclusive, interactive, culture affirming vision of futures shaped by non-white, non-Western/capitalist perspectives) - is one part some of the genesis of Avanceé. Truly, there have been many branches sparked by keynote speaker Monika Bielskyte which have landed here thru discussions, experiments, and projects. Yet still, this bias isn’t a wrong one. One should be looking to a valuing the view of and creation towards futures which are neither dystopian (worst possible for all) or utopian (best possible for an exclusive few). From A Future presented a canvas to navigate several lanes of protopian lessons, all of which are valuable beyond simply having intellectual conversations.
The canvas #FaF21 offered was indeed quite wide and deep. From an engaging and empathy-building discussion by Jeff Rottmeyer of Impact HK, to Joshua Davies impressive use of mmhmm and Otter to orient the group to the matrix of conversational intent vs performance, the early discussion might have felt more grounding w/n oneself than a vision of a future self. Next discussions on education (or learning vs education vs…), the elements of and decisions sustainable movements cause, and a topic of aliens (missed by this participant, sleep did call) continued to shape the conference’s intention to not just converse about wanted futures, but drive participants to consider their roles within it.
The continum given by Jon Alex’s topic of understanding citizenship as the age after capitalism, into Bielskyte’s keynote to which I (Antoine) was invited to share the stage and discuss lessons, frameworks, implications of protopia could be perceived as both fulfilling and challenging. There’s a difficulty in finding one’s place, while also shaping this space. Writing this as Brandy’s cover of the Sounds of Blackness hit Optimistic plays, this song is exactly what one cannot help but to contemplate and feel after both of those discussion concluded.
Several hours, and many presenters, later awoke in time to hear David Goldsmith reshape everyone’s perception of “being outside of the box.” There is no box, there is just you and your curiosity or willingness to expand. And then Avanceé/Antoine gave a small demo of spatial connectivity in tech and notes thru sharing #FaF21 notes and concepts created within Muse. Wild how Goldsmith and Avanceé presentations synced, maybe it was due to sitting in the same time zone, and being opening to the intuitiveness and wisdom granted by sharing this physical/online space.
Unfortunately, cannot speak to the day two activities of building/modeling protopian concepts. Surely, if any attendees are on Mico.Blog or Twitter, replies can capture the bounty offered in those design thinking-like activities. From the group chat, it seems like it was an amazing and worthwhile experience.
There is not likely to be a recording available. Unfortunately, the conference was Zoom-bombed and while there is a recording before and after, am not sure that it will not be for a while if it’s posted as the post-production to knit two recordings, and pull off an overall piece able to be shared. It might make for a better route for folks to visit Posit Place and follow the meetups and discussions thru their various social channels (IG, Discord, Twitter, Clubhouse, etc.). There is a Twitter list, with some of the attendees/speakers a part of it for following as well.
And about this… well, there’s notes. Appended here is the Muse board spoken of earlier. There’s almost enough there to connect with folks. Beyond that, well, perhaps there’s another shape to connectivity beyond physical and virtual (zoom) which might be in one’s imagination which layers conversations like those found here. Perhaps even, some of those conversations turn into art, entertainment, tools, policies, and other building blocks for the kind of future which is better suited to be authored by those voices currently finding their legs.
Can you imagine answers which have never been? Can you take a step towards the you which has been awaiting to be unveiled? Are you a consumer of this age, or a citizen of the next? What future voices are you enabling, disabling, creating? What protopias are you authoring, or setting the stage for others to build? From this future to the next… what are you a part of?
No, really where have the articles gone?
They really haven’t gone anywhere. It’s been more case of just collecting topics. And then from those topics looking for what doesn’t just so much generate interest, but what is solid enough to write and be a source of reoccurring knowledge. Not too sure about the visitors here because there’s no stats kept, but one of the important aspects of writing here is being able to go back and learn again from the items which were posted.
One of the topics being explored is on the area of federated/distributed networks. To one extent, @microblog can be considered one of these; but the thought is going a little bit further. Taking some of the impacts of what happens when you remove people from various social networks, media channels, and then a technology like the Internet which is supposed to be persistent, but due to various rules, it’s not as persistent as people would like it to be. What does networking look like when there’s less centralization? That’s a pretty good question, but those thoughts are not quite formalized just yet.
Another topic on deck is that of using an Apple TV as a temporary secondary workspace for someone who uses an iPad as a workstation. To this thought, it is taking the concept of the 10 foot user interface, and looking to see if there are any productivity gains to be had from a device that also has direct input leanings. This is an experiment, but like the previous is not quite as formalized yet as to what direction it will go. What is interesting? The applications which might be most useful when a TV is your secondary screen really aren’t all that explored on Apple TV. There is growth which could happen here.
Lastly, due to the virtual CES event this year, news about what’s happening is a bit slower to catch onto. But there’s one which did catch an eye: Vuzix Lightfield Lenses and Dynamic Glasses. This is something that probably will be in article sooner rather than later. But would rather get these glasses in hand and then begin looking at what an augmented secondary screen could do for the same idea of using a tablet as a workspace, or a 10 foot interface as a secondary screen. Not so much to put directions out front, or even see notifications. But what are the types of use cases in which overlays makes sense; not just in the case of commercial applications?
That is to say in conclusion, there are articles in progress. But not quite here just yet. And when they do returning regular cadence, hopefully they’ll be more than just a few snippets. Hopefully, there will be something worth reading now, and then coming back to reflect on later. Not just because something is an experiment or postulate, but because there is something further to pull out. In this age where things can be so temporary, it does make sense that articles can go to a place where they have something of a longer lifespan.
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Been chewing on the pictured concept a bit more the past few months. Thinking through this concept of lenses as a kind of self-corrective element individuals, teams, ans orgs can utilize in order to come to clearer outcomes. But, instead of pitching to the achiever types who are usually fast to take these on, more for the folks who are comfortable, fearful of change, and often feeling like life changes on aware.
One lens aims to clarify a perspective for one role of folks. It asks questions such as:
There’s a few of these lenses. And hopefully, they will be able to be layered on top of one another, then adjusted (dialing) for clarity. Much like the concept, giving a dynamic perspective and elevating vision beyond the 2D judgements we often give it.
Because, there’s a sense here: within a spatial view of one’s environment, they can diagnose, correct, learn, understand the past while plan for several futures… they’ll have a lens to see.
While some others are waking slowly from their feasting over the past day(s), am back on the pedals so to speak. Back at plugging away to a few standing items. One of those is a lexicon. From a recent reading about polymaths, funny how so many of the more academic ones, were granted a claim to fame by creating lexicons and encyclopedias. Almost can see the correlation between why they would be thought of as masters of several domains because of an ability to speak between them; but, there’s probably some misapplication of the lens in our future-viewing of the ability to connect threads.
In another activity, am working on creating lenses for viewing transformation across individual, team, and org contexts. Much like the optometrist who layers lenses in front of the eye and asks, “is this clearer? How about now? And, how about now?” Am aiming to create the same kind of translation layer for the items Avanceé is asked to re-engineer. Like the polymath creating an encyclopedia or lexicon, this seems simply a translation task, not the actual genius itself. However, it would likely be regarded as such — because many people have trouble seeing beyond their own blossoms.
Perhaps, this is the key perspective to take away: polymaths (geniuses, Renaissance persons, etc.) might actually be defined incorrectly. This is not to say there is no value to the connectedness and remixing they offer. There is. However, they aren’t the actual genius. The actual genius is in who/what comes after that connection is made. Or, to quote oneself:
The genius of creating a new road cannot be realized until someone else travels it, and potentially builds on top of it something of even greater value than the connection itself. Highways were just a way to transport arms quickly until someone realized the value of “tourism stops.” Platforming is the way to value adding, not simply realizing the platform which is to be made.
The pace of posting here has certainly slowed down from the first years. In part due to activities outside of this venture, but also some sharpening as to what this space should be for — namely, innovations in thought and experiments. Since this venture started, a goal has been to begin (yet not always finish) experiments which might lie a bit further outside of the scope of what teams and companies can pull off. Then from those, apply to clients a way forward which seems (to them) simple, but has been informed from those efforts.
That said, a few experiments are still in play, and it’s worth a small update here as both bookmark and push to finish:
GoTenna and Mesh Communications (in-progress) A recent acquisition, the GoTenna mesh communications platform has enabled revisiting past lessons on mesh and distributed communications, while also looking at what these products have done to improve user experience, service experience, and financial viability.
Apple’s Scribble for iPadOS (in-progress) The iPad is the workstation for every effort, and the introduction of Scribble as an input mechanism with the latest major update allows for some reflection to what worked with Newton and PalmOS handing writing decades ago, and areas where connectivity and the typed word have embedded more into UI design than we might have noticed. This has been a very insightful experience to date.
Comparing the Ōura Ring with A Mood Ring (evolved) Again with the new and the old through comparing fashion to connectivity. This experiment has been very insightful for several reason, not the least of which being the outright ignorance of thermochemistry in wearable objects. This experiment has been recently extende with the acquisition of a face mask which has LEDs in a similar color range to the mood ring. Communicating outward is the evolved step here.
Tablets Everywhere (completed) At one point earlier this year, there were three iPads, a Kindle Paperwhite, and the Jolla Tablet grabbing various portions of a week’s attention. This has trimmed to two iPads and the Kindle, and yet the framing makes sense for almost every effort. Much like the STNG analogy in that post, there’s acknowledgment of “the right place for the right tool.” But, the connected tablet morphs into what is needed more than its being slammed into place.
Connected Glasses (completed, evolving) A second round of using connected glasses has proven some possibilities and challenges with using glasses as a bridge to experience enhancement. The Vue glasses have made their way into a solid “office accessory” due to their near-invisibility yet functionality. However, like the first experiment with Snap’s Spectacles, the augmentation is borrowing the headspace used for vision gains, but not extending other senses such as propriception, force, orientation, and more. Notifications awareness and memory catching are better described as machine senses, not biological. There’s room to evolve here; especially with adaptive lenses and spatial awareness.
Deep Thought (evolving) This is probably less of an experiment and more of a mode. Deep thought continues to be described as the “yin” to collaboration’s “yang.” And this isn’t wrong, it just is not the most complete shape of what it means to derive something harder from it. As a UI paradigm there is a simpler route than describing and enabling what makes knowledge work valuable. This will constantly evolve… it is the closest work to the core of what makes Avanceé viable.
This is good, but needs to continue to go forward. The upcoming work feels to be the most exciting yet.
Many years back, in a previous endeavor, had looked into the potential and promise of mesh networking and decentralized communications. Besides the (usual) fun of something new to tinker with, there was a sense of being on the other side of the coin to what the consumer Internet had evolved towards.
There were some worthwhile experiments and experiences going down that path. Some of which were the very seeds of this site and endeavor now. Yet, that appeal to both plan for the worst, while tinkering around the edges still hasn’t left. As such, have decided to take a look at GoTenna Mesh.
GoTenna is a mesh networking platform utilizing a combination of a piece of hardware, and some (repurposed) radio spectrum. And while it is clearly a solution for those who like to camp/boat/climb/etc in remote areas, there’s a bit of a ‘hey, this should probably be a part of one’s emergency communications bag” also. There’s a little of both in the context of this play now, which is where this post comes in. The consumer internet is evolving, and mesh networking might be a very solid tent-pole for a normative part of it.
Setup of one’s Mesh device is fairly simple. You download the app, and then it walks you thru discovering one of the two mesh devices you’ve purchase, charged, and powered on. Once you have completed setup, you can device to either use your existing phone number, a generated ID, to be the means you connect with/be found by others who have a mesh account also. Decisions such as whether to share your location, upload your address book, and utilize the “shout” broadcasting service are normal fare for any social network, and is the case here. But, these are opt-in. You can be as present as you’d like to be, or need to be, when using GoTenna. There is also a premium layer to the service which enables an SMS relay service, alongside a few other location-based services. Pretty neat overall, and clearly a solid fit for adventuring.
This experiment will hopefully get to play with most of these bits. Much like the previous experiments with FireChat and Nokia”s Mobile Web Server, there’s a distinct appeal to a “net you have more control over.” One which is resilient, but also covers the bases in most aspects of user experience. I imagine thst GoTenna should roll well for sometime. Hopefully, it will not become a primary service, for an extended period anyways.
The experience so far has been fair. While there’s some fun in using GoTenna, there’s not yet been much in terms of interacting with others on the platform. That might not be for long. According to this map, there are quite a few nodes not too far off from my usual location (might have made a good stitch between larger nodes as a matter of fact). The app is simple, though clear memories of some of the challenges non-mainstream comms app creep thru a few UI paths. Still, it’s learnable, and mostly easy to use. The hit on the mobile’s battery was impressively low, but (in this user’s case), the app and service being tied to the mobile and not able to go to a cellular watch (or tablet?) kinda feels like a missed opportunity. Mesh networking around all the devices would be an impressive platform extension.
If you are interested in learning more, check out the GoTenna Mesh website. And if you decide to purchase and want to support this site in doing so, use this referral link to get $20 USD off your purchase.
GoTenna has not paid for this post, nor was the mesh device or any software associated with it provided to me/this site as compensation for this review. This was purchased by me/this site, and these views are shared w/o their previous knowledge or review of the content.
On this, the day after the release of iPadOS 14, am engaging in a bit of an experiment to see how far and wide the Scribble feature has to go.
It is cool
But not polished…yet.
Once immersed in Scribble (for iPadOS), you begin to realize how some apps are mere adaptations of a indirect (⌨️, 🖱) UI, and others (better) embraced touch & gestures. The irony of scribble might be exposing an over-due investment in spatial UIs for multitouch thru using a pen
And weirdly, this is most clear in the micro blog app. Here, you get the right sized screen and spacious writing area, however you also get the keyboard which pops up unexpectedly. You also get the “I ran out af horozonttal space but now I write on another line” effect that is disruptive. Then there is also misspelling or that mix of print and cursive which leads to misspelled everything. Today, the editor takes the moment off to see if Apple took of it out a auto-correct job (the editor stays employed, with a raise).
There is a return to the immersion of handwriting though; which is pleasant despite the sound of plastic tapping on glass. This is a different kind of learnig how to do handwritten. Not too different from Palm and graffiti and not close either. There is immersion which can be had again in blogging with this.
There are more and better impressions in the attached. More things to not only discover, but refine in terms af usual us “sometimes ” UI behaviors.
The onus is on developers to mature in their handling of input. And for Apple to be smoother about what exactly is capable when immersion and a morphing canvas really do open possibilities.
Was listening to a podcast recently by the good folks at Muse and the wheels started turning when they started speaking about building a framing or a better concept around what it means for knowledge workers to improve personally and professionally. This somewhat goes into some previous conversations here regarding the space called “deep thought,“ the behaviors of using a (digital) canvas, as well as a newer points around attention being a spectrum. All of these items form, or are building blocks into what is simply “how do we think.“
When it gets down to it, a knowledge worker is simply someone whose practices have turned into reliable outcomes. And their practices are not necessarily those things which can be measured from/by externalities. Can you really measure the time between ingesting concepts, the subconscious playing with it away from the workspace, and the the spark which pulls it into the conscious frame? No. These are the products of intentions, deliberate practice, and communicating applicable insight. No measurement, but perhaps, there are signals worth regarding, and weighing.
Sketching this concept of essential skills for knowledge workers sounds a little bit less like things that you obtain a certificate or degree for; more like base practices and common abilities, yet where awareness, talent, and/or skill can better over time or through particular outcomes.
So far, the skills are grouped into a few loose categories:
There are specific items within all of these, yet not worth discussing those now. Still working on some of the finer bits.
Beyond those are two items which do have an external facing loci: active listening and experimenting. Both of these are items not necessarily measured, but can be perceived by others as the product of those forementioned items. And it’s possible in the mist of doing one or both of these two, the practice that is “knowledge work“ begets a type of shape understood by the worker, and also by those observing/consuming the work.
There’s more to be uncovered in this thesis. Certainly there is more sitting on both physical and digital whiteboards than what has been explained here. Sketching a clearer view of these essential skills may offer some types of persons who are in knowledge working the fields a bit of a framing to on their own career journey, while also folks who are in design and policy spaces a better box to sail toward.
That last sentence is a tick more key to current work: how to enable fields such as design and policy to shape a better understanding of their “how,” rather than just their outputs.
A lot about the process of thinking (deep thought, collaborative, synthesis, research, or experimentation) is simply a matter of thinking. What passes as challenging work under this initiative is really a matter of “can you think then invite others to think?” Which, when you think about it, is just a series of reframing thoughts.
And maybe this isn’t the “center of the known universe,” but perhaps it is. A piece of what has been a brick of work this past year has been listening for and pulling out of processes whatever is implied cognitively. A lot is implied, and perhaps this is where we don’t exactly think but we connect with whatever is embedded into our environments.
Am also discovering the impact of traumatic experiences on the designed environment. Much more of what I’m seeing of the policy-driven world isn’t so much a response to augmenting humanity as much as it is addressing the symptoms which define humanity. Sharper are the policies and structures where the assumed or actualized hurt is greater to someone (someone louder, often not even living anymore). And yet this effect produces affects which impact the ability for folks to think.
Maybe (re)engineering complexity is really a case of unpacking what it means to think. And if so… maybe a more honest question is whether it’s worth it to others to know their thoughts, or to be shielded from them?
There’s something a bit rough and almost ironic about hearing about optical wearable companies no longer going forward. One would imagine, if they offered the advances in connected vision, they’d almost see coming when products are/aren’t viable.
But this is the actual challenge with these kinds of explorations and experiments, especially in a space so personal as wearables. The route to profitability, reputability, and varying levels of customer acceptance is not a simple one. In order to maximize prospects on any of those areas, there’s got to be great levels of focus, and even greater levels of restraint.
In this viewer’s opinion — one who uses both Vue Glasses and Snap’s Spectacles — there wasn’t as much simplicity in focus from the folks at Focals by North. Was it for directions, or for notifications? It needed a secondary controller, which was not as sleek/stylish as the primary. There was no voice-controller, the ring control was it. And lastly, where it had a good leg into wanting to be a part of using Amazon’s Alexa framework, those bits didn’t materialize and it was left using a homegrown operating system, and building both viability and reputation without others names.
Now, Focals seemed primed for some good steps forward when looked at its purchase by Google. However, aside from the laser tech for the augmented vision, there was not much more on Focals which was not already on Google’s (still shipping) Glass v2 product. Unfortunately, things changed and what was a “phasing out at the end of 2020” now is a “phasing out at the end of July 2020.” Tough for the folks who purchased this highly personalized product… perhaps also for those who have been looking at optical wearables as a “next step” for wearables, but missing what simple and focus might need to look like.
What does simple and focus look like? Or, what challenges can be met?
Base functionality should not depend on proprietary tech. Meaning items such as being a replacement Bluetooth headset should use normal BT protocols. Audio controllers might be touch or gesture based, but these too should be hooked into standard audio controller APIs.
Features such as augmented vision might have proprietary bits, but file transfer from the devices should leverage normal OBEX and similar protocols. I’d imagine that Focals, much like Snap, wraps videos and images in their own format for ease of working in their specific operating systems. Other special features would be what the company adds, and this would be the piece the companies would either rise or fall with their unique value prop.
All of this to say, no one wants their companies to be acquired and/or stuttered. However, to be a product which survives long enough to be valued, you’ve got to do more than just release everything you imagine. Find the sim0e thing on top of the basic thing, focus on doing that extraordinary well. And then build out from there. Focals, in my opinion, had the augmented vision, but should have went with Alexa integration harder than anything else. Sizing, the shopping experience, etc., all of those are great, but would be bette for a second generation release, not a first. Still, they shipped, sold, and were acquired. To that end, perhaps it was a success.
Would have been better for them if they could have see this end of things occurring.
Still trying to come up with some collective thoughts that makes sense around WWDC. But, the fact of the matter is, as much appreciation of the design and “all trains into the station feeling” from Apple’s platform, not really get a sense just yet they are playing their best cards.
Part of this is from being involved with software development; when it is done well, the thing that you are able to present is rarely as polished or as finished as well seen. From just some current projects, and preparing a few teams for demos, one can be rest assured that even though there are some features which have made it to this point of readiness, there’s still some minutia to be discussed and investigated. The public beta does not cut these points short, but it too is not really aligned with what the platform is actually doing at this time.
So what is the platform doing at this time? Or really, what can be learned from Apple’s explorations “this year“ into bringing its platforms into further alignment with one another?
One thought, that has been lingering for the past few platform revisions of iOS, is this thought of using multiple senses in order to do the thing that is regarded as computing. Instead of giving a prescription to what they want users to be able to understand and do, Apple seems to be more set upon delivering a set of frameworks, allowing those who are already curious to discover better ways to interact with these machines and services. And if those ways are not just discovered, but strengthened, then a new language (a better language?) for computing can begin to arise. Something perhps not different from their vision, but maybe pushed forward by other peoples imagination, more than/not their own.
This concept of frameworks is probably something worth coming back to a few more times. But, it seems to make sense here in this case. Apple is not merely saying “we wish for you to do computing the way that we envision it.“ But they seem to be gong the route of something a bit more…