andrewlb notes

Everyware

Everyware

Metadata

Highlights

  • everyware will surface and make explicit facts about our world that perhaps we would be happier ignoring. In countless ways, it will disturb unwritten agreements about workspace and homespace, the presentation of self and the right to privacy. (Location 89)
  • These are established events, in academic terms: well-attended, underwritten by companies such as Intel, Sony, Nokia and Samsung. There are at least three peer-reviewed professional journals exclusively dedicated to ubiquitous or pervasive computing. (Location 108)
  • There's already a steady stream of prototype everyware emerging from the research labs and the more advanced corporate design studios, no matter whether they're answers to questions nobody's much asked. (Location 116)
  • A mobile phone is something that can be switched off or left at home. A computer is something that can be shut down, unplugged, walked away from. But the technology we're discussing here—ambient, ubiquitous, capable of insinuating itself into all the apertures everyday life affords it—will form our environment in a way neither of those technologies can. (Location 141)
  • The researcher's name was Mark Weiser, and his thoughts were summarized in a brief burst simply entitled "Ubiquitous Computing #1." In it, as in the series of seminal papers and articles that followed, Weiser developed the idea of an "invisible" computing, a computing that "does not live on a personal device of any sort, but is in the woodwork everywhere." (Location 158)
  • MIT Media Lab, Professor Hiroshi Ishii's "Things That Think" (Location 172)
  • At IBM, a whole research group grew up around a "pervasive computing" of smart objects, embedded sensors, and the always-on networks that connected them. (Location 173)
  • In 2002, they published a paper describing the event heap, a way of allocating computational resources that better accounted for the arbitrary comings and goings of multiple simultaneous users than did the traditional "event queue." (Location 189)
  • Questions like these were taken up with varying degrees of enthusiasm, skepticism, and critical distance in the overlapping human-computer interaction (HCI) and user experience (UX) communities. The former, with an academic engineering pedigree, had evolved over some thirty years to consider the problems inherent in any encounter between complex technical systems and the people using them; the latter, a more or less ad hoc network of practitioners, addressed similar concerns in their daily work, as the Internet and the World Wide Web built on it became facts of life for millions of nonspecialist users. (Location 204)
  • Hiroshi Ishii's Tangible Media Group at the MIT Media Lab saw their work as cleaving into three broad categories: "interactive surfaces," in which desks, walls, doors, and even ceilings were reimagined as input/output devices; "ambients," which used phenomena such as sound, light, and air currents as peripheral channels to the user; and "tangibles," which leveraged the "graspable and manipulable" qualities of physical objects as provisions of the human interface. (Location 228)
  • A separate MIT effort, Project Oxygen, proceeded under the assumption that a coherently pervasive presentation would require coordinated effort at all levels; they set out to design a coordinated suite of devices and user interfaces, sensor grids, software architecture, and ad hoc and mesh-network strategies. (Location 232)
  • what we're contemplating here is the extension of information-sensing, -processing, and -networking capabilities to entire classes of things we've never before thought of as "technology." At least, we haven't thought of them that way in a long, long time: I'm talking about artifacts such as clothing, furniture, walls and doorways. (Location 262)
  • 1989, Olivetti Research deployed an early version of Roy Want's Active Badge, (Location 270)
  • Original sin came early to ubicomp. (Location 276)
  • Could the mental models attached to such familiar forms unduly limit what people think of to do with them? The answer is almost certainly yes; we'll take up that question a bit later on. (Location 314)
  • human interface pioneer Don Norman. Norman argues, in The Invisible Computer and elsewhere, that the difficulty and frustration we experience in using the computer are primarily artifacts of its general-purpose nature. (Location 322)
  • interactions with designed systems so well thought out by their authors, and so effortless on the part of their users, that they effectively abscond from awareness. (Location 369)
  • Mark Weiser's dictum that "the most profound technologies are those that disappear." (Location 374)
  • everyware finally isn't so much a particular kind of hardware, philosophy of software design, or set of interface conventions as it is a situation—a set of circumstances. (Location 447)
  • we will no longer be able to hold computing at arm's length, as something we're "not really interested in," (Location 465)
  • designers of user experiences for standard systems "rarely have to worry about questions of the following sort:   When I address a system, how does it know I am addressing it? When I ask a system to do something how do I know it is attending? When I issue a command (such as save, execute or delete), how does the system know what it relates to? How do I know the system understands my command and is correctly executing my intended action? How do I recover from mistakes?" (Location 535)
  • The field contemplates bridging the worlds of things and information, atoms and bits: Physical interface elements are manipulated to perform operations on associated data. Such haptic interfaces invoke the senses of both touch and proprioception—what you feel through the skin, that is, and the sensorimotor awareness you maintain of the position and movement of your body. (Location 559)
  • The ease and simplicity most users experience in mousing, after an exceedingly brief period of adaptation upon first use, relies on the subtle consciousness of cursor location that the user retains, perceived solely through the positioning of the wrist joint and fingers. It isn't too far a leap from noticing this to wondering whether this faculty might not be brought directly to bear on the world. (Location 563)
  • Jun Rekimoto's innovative DataTiles project, developed at Sony Computer Science Laboratories (CSL), provides the user with a vocabulary of interactions that can be combined in a wide variety of engaging ways—a hybrid language that blends physical cues with visual behaviors. (Location 588)
  • What matters, of course, is not that one particular system may do something idiosyncratically: Anything simple can probably be memorized and associated with a given task with a minimum of effort. The problem emerges when the different systems one is exposed to do things different ways: when the map at home zooms in if you spread your hands, but the map in your car zooms out. (Location 617)
  • They potentially serve to address one of the concerns raised by the Bellotti paper previously referenced: Used judiciously, they can function as subtle indicators that a system has received, and is properly acting on, some input. (Location 624)
  • Pittsburgh-based startup called BodyMedia has done just that, designing a suite of soft sensors that operate at the body's surface. (Location 678)
  • University of Toronto professor Steve Mann has easily trumped anyone else's efforts in this regard, willingly exploring full-time life as a cyborg over the course of several years (and still doing so, as of this writing). Mann attempted to negotiate modern life gamely festooned with all manner of devices, including an "eyetap" that provided for the "continuous passive capture, recording, retrieval, and sharing" of anything that happened to pass through his field of vision. (Location 703)
  • So what's the next step? After decades of habituation due to the wristwatch, the outer surface of the forearm is by now a "natural" and intuitive place to put readouts and controls. Meanwhile, with the generous expanse it offers, the torso offers wireless communication devices enough space for a particularly powerful and receptive antenna; a prototype from the U.S. Army's Natick Soldier Center integrates such an antenna into a vest that also provides a (near-literal) backbone for warfighter electronics, optics, and sensor suites. (Location 731)
  • CarpetLAN bears all the marks of a highly sophisticated effort to understand what kinds of functionality can be practically subsumed in a floor. (Location 766)
  • The MIT Tangible Media Group's 1998 prototype ambientROOM was one such pioneering effort. Built into a free-standing Steelcase office cubicle of around fifty square feet, ambientROOM was nothing if not an exercise in holism: The entire space was considered as an interface, using lighting and shadow, sound cues, and even the rippled reflection of light on water to convey activity meaningful to the occupant. The sound of birdsong and rainfall varied in volume with some arbitrary quantity set by a user—both the "value of a stock portfolio" or the "number of unread e-mail messages" were proposed at the time* (Location 807)
  • Since mid-2005, rooms at the Mandarin Oriental in New york have loaded preference files maintained on a central server when the hotel's best customers check in, customizing settings from the shades to the thermostat, lining up entertainment options, and loading frequently dialed numbers into the phone.* (Location 818)
  • Anyone who regularly read Metropolis or wallpaper or ID in those years will likely remember a stream of blobjectified buildings, all nurbly and spliny, with tightly-kerned Helvetica Neue wrapped around the corners to represent "interactive surfaces," and images of Asian women sleekly coutoured in Jil Sander Photoshopped into the foreground to connote generic urban futurity.* (Location 836)
  • Consider dECOi's 2003 Aegis Hyposurface, a continuously-transformable membrane that allows digital input—whether from microphone, keyboard, or motion sensor—to be physically rendered on the surface itself, showing up as symbols, shapes, and other deformations. Its creators call Aegis "a giant sketchpad for a new age," and while its complexity has kept it from being produced as anything beyond a prototype, it at least was explicitly designed to respond to the kind of inputs Arch-OS produces. (Location 870)
  • Los Angeles–based architect Peter Testa has designed a prototype building called the Carbon Tower: an all-composite, forty-story high-rise knit, braided and woven from carbon fiber. (Location 881)
  • In 1971, in a landmark study entitled The Image Of The City, MIT professor and urbanist Kevin Lynch explored a quality of the city he called "legibility." (Location 904)
  • Information architect Peter Morville calls such interventions in the city "wayfinding 2.0"—an aspect of the emerging informational milieu he thinks of as "ambient findability," in which a combination of pervasive devices, the social application of semantic metadata, and self-identifying objects renders the built environment (and many other things besides) effectively transparent to inquiry. (Location 928)
  • JAPELAS, a recent Tokushima University project that aims to establish the utility of ubiquitous technology in the classroom—in this case, a Japanese-language classroom. One of the complications of learning to speak Japanese involves knowing which of the many levels of politeness is appropriate in a given context, and this is just what JAPELAS sets out to teach. The system determines the "appropriate" expression by trying to assess the social distance between interlocutors, their relative status, and the overall context of their interaction; it then supplies the student with the chosen expression, in real time. (Location 1180)
  • it makes a difference when distinctions like these are inscribed in the unremitting logic of an information-processing system.* Admittedly, JAPELAS is "just" a teaching tool, and a prototype at that, so maybe it can be forgiven a certain lack of nuance; you'd be drilled with the same rules by just about any human teacher, after all. (I sure was.) It is nevertheless disconcerting to think how easily such discriminations can be hard-coded into something seemingly neutral and unimpeachable and to consider the force they have when uttered by such a source. (Location 1193)
  • Erving Goffman taught us, way back in 1958, that we are all actors. we all have a collection of masks, in other words, to be swapped out as the exigencies of our transit through life require: one hour stern boss, the next anxious lover. who can maintain a custody of the self conscious and consistent enough to read as coherent throughout all the input modes everyware offers? What we're headed for, I'm afraid, is a milieu in which sustaining different masks for all the different roles in our lives will prove to be untenable, if simply because too much information about our previous decisions will follow us around. And while certain futurists have been warning us about this for years, for the most part even they hadn't counted on the emergence of a technology capable of closing the loop between the existence of such information and its actionability in everyday life. For better or worse, everyware is that technology. (Location 1217)
  • Everyware has already staked a claim on our visual imaginary, which in turn exerts a surprising influence on the development of technology. (Location 1265)
  • For Minority Report, director Steven Spielberg asked interaction and interface designers from the MIT Media Lab, Microsoft Research, Austin-based Milkshake Media, and elsewhere to imagine for him what digital media might look like in 2045. They responded with a coherent vision binding together: embedded sensor grids, gestural manipulation of data, newspaperlike information appliances, dynamic and richly personalized advertising, and ubiquitous biometric identification, all undergirded by a seamless real-time network. (Location 1286)
  • Media Lab alumnus John Underkoffler, designer of the gesture-driven interface in Report, was sought out by a group at defense contractor Raytheon, whose members had seen and been impressed by the film. He was eventually hired by Raytheon to develop similar systems for the U.S. military's "net-centric warfare" efforts, including a shared interface called the Common Tactical Blackboard. (Location 1306)
  • But it wouldn't have taken a surplus of imagination, even ahead of the fact, to discern the original Napster in Paul Baran's first paper on packet-switched networks, the Manhattan skyline in the Otis safety elevator patent, or the suburb and the strip mall latent in the heart of the internal combustion engine. (Location 1344)
  • In networking, the next step beyond the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth standards we're familiar with is a technology called ultra-wideband (UWB), a lowpower scheme that relays data at rates upwards of 500 MB/second—around ten times faster than current wireless. UWB is rich enough to support the transmission of multiple simultaneous streams of highdefinition video, agile and responsive enough to facilitate ad-hoc mesh networking.* (Location 1354)
  • Aware Home consortium based at the Georgia Institute of Technology to Nomura Research Institute's various "ubiquitous network" efforts, (Location 1422)
  • (If a high percentage of such proposals seem to be Japanese in origin, there's a reason: the demographic crisis is especially pressing in Japan, which is also almost certainly the society most inclined to pursue technical solutions.) (Location 1423)
  • The ostensible prerogatives of public safety in the post–September 11 era have been neatly summarized by curators Terence Riley and Guy Nordenson, in their notes to the 2004 Museum of Modern Art show "Tall Buildings," as "reduce the public sphere, restrict access, and limit unmonitored activity." In practice, this has meant that previous ways of doing things in the city and the world will no longer do; our fear of terror, reinscribed by the bombings in Bali, Madrid and London, has on some level forced us to reassess the commitment to mobility our open societies are based on. (Location 1458)
  • We all understand the strategy of target removal: "something that is not there cannot be taken," and so cash and even human-readable credit and debit cards are replaced with invisible, heavily encrypted services like PayPass. Target devaluation seeks to make vulnerable items less desirable to those who would steal them, and this is certainly the case where self-identifying, self-describing devices or vehicles can be tracked via their network connection. For that matter, why even try to steal something that becomes useless in the absence of a unique biometric identifier, key or access code? This is the goal of offender incapacitation, a strategy also involved in attempts to lock out the purchase of denied items. Target insulation and exclusion are addressed via the defense in depth we've already discussed—the gauntlet of networked sensors, alarms, and cameras around any target of interest, as well as all the subtler measures that make such places harder to get to. And finally there is the identification of offenders or potential offenders, achieved via remote iris scanning or facial recognition systems like the one currently deployed in the Newham borough of London.   Who's driving the (Location 1495)
  • Mark Weiser and John Seely Brown's seminal "The Coming Age of Calm Technology," which argued that the ubiquity of next-generation computing would compel its designers to ensure that it "encalmed" its users. In their words, "if computers are everywhere, they better stay out of the way." (Location 1519)
  • The strategy they devised to promote calm had to do with letting the user shift back and forth between the focus of attention and what they called the "periphery"—that which "we are attuned to without attending to explicitly." Just as, in your peripheral vision you may see objects but not need to attend to them (or even necessarily be consciously aware of their presence), here the periphery was a place where information could reside until actively required. To design systems that "inform without overburdening," though, you'd need to call upon a different set of interface modes than the conventional PC keyboard and mouse. Brown and weiser thought input modes like these were a big part of the problem; roy want and his co-authors, in a 2002 paper, flatly state that "[n]ondesktop interface modalities, such as pen, speech, vision, and touch, are attractive" to the enlightened interface designer "because they require less of a user's attention than a traditional desktop interface."* * The presence of "speech" on this list, and in so many depictions that come after, is interesting. Mark Weiser explicitly excluded voice-recognition interfaces from his vision of ubiquitous computing, pointing out that it would be "prominent and attention-grabbing" in precisely the way that "a good tool is (Location 1528)
  • Natalie Jeremijenko's installation Live Wire (also known as Dangling String). This was an "eight-foot piece of plastic spaghetti" attached to an electric motor mounted in the ceiling that was itself wired into the building's ethernet. Fluctuations in network traffic ran the motor, causing the string to oscillate visibly and audibly. (Location 1543)
  • late 1990s, when a company called Ambient Devices offered for sale something it called the Ambient Orb. The Orb was a milky globe maybe ten centimeters in diameter that communicated with a proprietary wireless network, independent of the Internet. It was supposed to sit atop a desk or a night table and use gentle modulations of color to indicate changes in some user-specified quantity, from the weather (color mapped to temperature, with the frequency of pulses indicating likelihood of precipitation) to commute traffic (green for smooth sailing, all the way through to red for "incident"). (Location 1551)
  • London-based designer/makers Jack Schulze and Matt Webb, working for Nokia, have devised a presentation called Attention Fader that addresses just this situation. It's a framed picture, the kind of thing you might find hanging on the side wall of an office cubicle, that appears at first glance to be a rather banal and uninflected portrait of a building along the south bank of the Thames. But the building has a lawn before it, and a swath of sky above it, and there's a section of pathway running past, along the river embankment, and Schulze and Webb have used each of these as subtle channels for the display of useful information. Leave town for a few days, let your in-box fill up, and the number of people gaggling on the river path will slowly mount. Ignore a few high-priority messages, and first cars, then trucks, and finally tanks pull up onto the lawn; let the whole thing go, and after a while some rather malevolent-looking birds begin to circle in the sky. (Location 1558)
    • Note: reference
  • 1965 by engineer (and later Intel co-founder) Gordon Moore, in a now-legendary article in the industry journal Electronics. It would turn out to be one of the most profoundly influential observations in the history of computing, and as nakedly self-fulfilling a prophecy as there ever has been. (It's so well known in the industry, in fact, that if you feel like you've got a handle on what it implies for everyware, there's no reason for you not to skip ahead to Thesis 33.) (Location 1590)
  • Ubicomp advocate Mike Kuniavsky acknowledges this in his "Smart Furniture Manifesto": in his own words, endowing furniture and other everyday things with digital intelligence "can introduce all kinds of complexity and failure modes that don't currently exist." (I'd argue that you can replace the "can" in that sentence with "demonstrably will.") (Location 1668)
  • "[a]lways design a thing by considering it in its next larger context." (Location 1692)
  • Chris Kasabach, says the company thinks of the living body as a "continuous beacon": "signals can either fall on the floor, or you can collect them and they can tell you something higher-level" about the organism in question. Stripped of its specific referent, this is as good a one-sentence description of the data-discovery aspect of everyware as you are ever likely to come across. Everyware's mesh of enhanced objects dispersed throughout everyday life also happens to offer a way of collecting the signals already out there and making of them a gnosis of the world. (Location 1698)
  • border crossings: irruptions of information in an unexpected (and generally problematic) context. (Location 1723)
  • Where everyware is concerned, we can no longer expect anything to exist in isolation from anything else. It comprises a "global mnemotechnical system," in the words of French philosopher Bernard Stiegler—a mesh of computational awareness, operating in a great many places and on a great many channels, fused to techniques that permit the relational or semantic cross-referencing of the facts thus garnered, and an almost limitless variety of modes and opportunities for output. (Location 1732)
  • Make no mistake about it, "specify" is the operative word here. UML allows programmers to decompose a situation into a use case: a highly granular, stepped, sequential representation of the interaction, with all events and participants precisely defined. Such use cases are a necessary intermediate step between the high-level, natural language description of a scenario and its ultimate expression in code. In a valid use case, nothing is left unspecified or undefined. Every party to an interaction must be named, as well as all of the attributes belonging to (and all the operations that can be performed on) each of them. To an non-engineer, the level of attention to detail involved can seem almost pathologically obsessive. In order to write sound code, though, all of these values must be specified minutely. (Location 1784)
  • If we are ever to regard the appearance of computing in everyday life as anything more than an annoyance, though, someone will have to do just this sort of thing. Someone will have to model fuzzy, indirect, imprecise behaviors. Someone will have to teach systems to regard some utterances as signal and some as noise, some facts as significant and some as misdirection, some gestures as compulsive tics and yet others as meaningful commands. (Location 1805)
  • challenges of this order are often called "AI-hard"—that is, a system capable of mastering them could be construed as having successfully met the definition of artificial human intelligence. Simply describing everyday situations in useful detail would utterly tax contemporary digital design practice and most of the methodological tools it's built on. (Location 1809)
  • As computing technology becomes less overt and less conspicuous, it gets harder to see that devices are designed, manufactured, and marketed by some specific institution, that network and interface standards are specified by some body, and so on. A laptop is clearly made by Toshiba or Dell or Apple, but what about a situation? (Location 1845)
  • Most difficult of all is the case when we cease to think of some tool as being "technology" at all—as studies in Japan and Norway indicate is currently true of mobile phones, at least in those places. Under such circumstances, the technology's governing metaphors and assumptions have an easier time infiltrating the other decisions we make about the world. Their effects come to seem more normal, more natural, simply the way things are done, while gestures of refusal become that much harder to make or to justify. And that is something that should give us pause, at the cusp of our embrace of something as insinuative and as hard to see as everyware. (Location 1854)

public: true

title: Everyware longtitle: Everyware author: Adam Greenfield url: , source: kindle last_highlight: 2013-03-16 type: books tags:

Everyware

rw-book-cover

Metadata

Highlights

  • everyware will surface and make explicit facts about our world that perhaps we would be happier ignoring. In countless ways, it will disturb unwritten agreements about workspace and homespace, the presentation of self and the right to privacy. (Location 89)
  • These are established events, in academic terms: well-attended, underwritten by companies such as Intel, Sony, Nokia and Samsung. There are at least three peer-reviewed professional journals exclusively dedicated to ubiquitous or pervasive computing. (Location 108)
  • There's already a steady stream of prototype everyware emerging from the research labs and the more advanced corporate design studios, no matter whether they're answers to questions nobody's much asked. (Location 116)
  • A mobile phone is something that can be switched off or left at home. A computer is something that can be shut down, unplugged, walked away from. But the technology we're discussing here—ambient, ubiquitous, capable of insinuating itself into all the apertures everyday life affords it—will form our environment in a way neither of those technologies can. (Location 141)
  • The researcher's name was Mark Weiser, and his thoughts were summarized in a brief burst simply entitled "Ubiquitous Computing #1." In it, as in the series of seminal papers and articles that followed, Weiser developed the idea of an "invisible" computing, a computing that "does not live on a personal device of any sort, but is in the woodwork everywhere." (Location 158)
  • MIT Media Lab, Professor Hiroshi Ishii's "Things That Think" (Location 172)
  • At IBM, a whole research group grew up around a "pervasive computing" of smart objects, embedded sensors, and the always-on networks that connected them. (Location 173)
  • In 2002, they published a paper describing the event heap, a way of allocating computational resources that better accounted for the arbitrary comings and goings of multiple simultaneous users than did the traditional "event queue." (Location 189)
  • Questions like these were taken up with varying degrees of enthusiasm, skepticism, and critical distance in the overlapping human-computer interaction (HCI) and user experience (UX) communities. The former, with an academic engineering pedigree, had evolved over some thirty years to consider the problems inherent in any encounter between complex technical systems and the people using them; the latter, a more or less ad hoc network of practitioners, addressed similar concerns in their daily work, as the Internet and the World Wide Web built on it became facts of life for millions of nonspecialist users. (Location 204)
  • Hiroshi Ishii's Tangible Media Group at the MIT Media Lab saw their work as cleaving into three broad categories: "interactive surfaces," in which desks, walls, doors, and even ceilings were reimagined as input/output devices; "ambients," which used phenomena such as sound, light, and air currents as peripheral channels to the user; and "tangibles," which leveraged the "graspable and manipulable" qualities of physical objects as provisions of the human interface. (Location 228)
  • A separate MIT effort, Project Oxygen, proceeded under the assumption that a coherently pervasive presentation would require coordinated effort at all levels; they set out to design a coordinated suite of devices and user interfaces, sensor grids, software architecture, and ad hoc and mesh-network strategies. (Location 232)
  • what we're contemplating here is the extension of information-sensing, -processing, and -networking capabilities to entire classes of things we've never before thought of as "technology." At least, we haven't thought of them that way in a long, long time: I'm talking about artifacts such as clothing, furniture, walls and doorways. (Location 262)
  • 1989, Olivetti Research deployed an early version of Roy Want's Active Badge, (Location 270)
  • Original sin came early to ubicomp. (Location 276)
  • Could the mental models attached to such familiar forms unduly limit what people think of to do with them? The answer is almost certainly yes; we'll take up that question a bit later on. (Location 314)
  • human interface pioneer Don Norman. Norman argues, in The Invisible Computer and elsewhere, that the difficulty and frustration we experience in using the computer are primarily artifacts of its general-purpose nature. (Location 322)
  • interactions with designed systems so well thought out by their authors, and so effortless on the part of their users, that they effectively abscond from awareness. (Location 369)
  • Mark Weiser's dictum that "the most profound technologies are those that disappear." (Location 374)
  • everyware finally isn't so much a particular kind of hardware, philosophy of software design, or set of interface conventions as it is a situation—a set of circumstances. (Location 447)
  • we will no longer be able to hold computing at arm's length, as something we're "not really interested in," (Location 465)
  • designers of user experiences for standard systems "rarely have to worry about questions of the following sort:   When I address a system, how does it know I am addressing it? When I ask a system to do something how do I know it is attending? When I issue a command (such as save, execute or delete), how does the system know what it relates to? How do I know the system understands my command and is correctly executing my intended action? How do I recover from mistakes?" (Location 535)
  • The field contemplates bridging the worlds of things and information, atoms and bits: Physical interface elements are manipulated to perform operations on associated data. Such haptic interfaces invoke the senses of both touch and proprioception—what you feel through the skin, that is, and the sensorimotor awareness you maintain of the position and movement of your body. (Location 559)
  • The ease and simplicity most users experience in mousing, after an exceedingly brief period of adaptation upon first use, relies on the subtle consciousness of cursor location that the user retains, perceived solely through the positioning of the wrist joint and fingers. It isn't too far a leap from noticing this to wondering whether this faculty might not be brought directly to bear on the world. (Location 563)
  • Jun Rekimoto's innovative DataTiles project, developed at Sony Computer Science Laboratories (CSL), provides the user with a vocabulary of interactions that can be combined in a wide variety of engaging ways—a hybrid language that blends physical cues with visual behaviors. (Location 588)
  • What matters, of course, is not that one particular system may do something idiosyncratically: Anything simple can probably be memorized and associated with a given task with a minimum of effort. The problem emerges when the different systems one is exposed to do things different ways: when the map at home zooms in if you spread your hands, but the map in your car zooms out. (Location 617)
  • They potentially serve to address one of the concerns raised by the Bellotti paper previously referenced: Used judiciously, they can function as subtle indicators that a system has received, and is properly acting on, some input. (Location 624)
  • Pittsburgh-based startup called BodyMedia has done just that, designing a suite of soft sensors that operate at the body's surface. (Location 678)
  • University of Toronto professor Steve Mann has easily trumped anyone else's efforts in this regard, willingly exploring full-time life as a cyborg over the course of several years (and still doing so, as of this writing). Mann attempted to negotiate modern life gamely festooned with all manner of devices, including an "eyetap" that provided for the "continuous passive capture, recording, retrieval, and sharing" of anything that happened to pass through his field of vision. (Location 703)
  • So what's the next step? After decades of habituation due to the wristwatch, the outer surface of the forearm is by now a "natural" and intuitive place to put readouts and controls. Meanwhile, with the generous expanse it offers, the torso offers wireless communication devices enough space for a particularly powerful and receptive antenna; a prototype from the U.S. Army's Natick Soldier Center integrates such an antenna into a vest that also provides a (near-literal) backbone for warfighter electronics, optics, and sensor suites. (Location 731)
  • CarpetLAN bears all the marks of a highly sophisticated effort to understand what kinds of functionality can be practically subsumed in a floor. (Location 766)
  • The MIT Tangible Media Group's 1998 prototype ambientROOM was one such pioneering effort. Built into a free-standing Steelcase office cubicle of around fifty square feet, ambientROOM was nothing if not an exercise in holism: The entire space was considered as an interface, using lighting and shadow, sound cues, and even the rippled reflection of light on water to convey activity meaningful to the occupant. The sound of birdsong and rainfall varied in volume with some arbitrary quantity set by a user—both the "value of a stock portfolio" or the "number of unread e-mail messages" were proposed at the time* (Location 807)
  • Since mid-2005, rooms at the Mandarin Oriental in New york have loaded preference files maintained on a central server when the hotel's best customers check in, customizing settings from the shades to the thermostat, lining up entertainment options, and loading frequently dialed numbers into the phone.* (Location 818)
  • Anyone who regularly read Metropolis or wallpaper or ID in those years will likely remember a stream of blobjectified buildings, all nurbly and spliny, with tightly-kerned Helvetica Neue wrapped around the corners to represent "interactive surfaces," and images of Asian women sleekly coutoured in Jil Sander Photoshopped into the foreground to connote generic urban futurity.* (Location 836)
  • Consider dECOi's 2003 Aegis Hyposurface, a continuously-transformable membrane that allows digital input—whether from microphone, keyboard, or motion sensor—to be physically rendered on the surface itself, showing up as symbols, shapes, and other deformations. Its creators call Aegis "a giant sketchpad for a new age," and while its complexity has kept it from being produced as anything beyond a prototype, it at least was explicitly designed to respond to the kind of inputs Arch-OS produces. (Location 870)
  • Los Angeles–based architect Peter Testa has designed a prototype building called the Carbon Tower: an all-composite, forty-story high-rise knit, braided and woven from carbon fiber. (Location 881)
  • In 1971, in a landmark study entitled The Image Of The City, MIT professor and urbanist Kevin Lynch explored a quality of the city he called "legibility." (Location 904)
  • Information architect Peter Morville calls such interventions in the city "wayfinding 2.0"—an aspect of the emerging informational milieu he thinks of as "ambient findability," in which a combination of pervasive devices, the social application of semantic metadata, and self-identifying objects renders the built environment (and many other things besides) effectively transparent to inquiry. (Location 928)
  • JAPELAS, a recent Tokushima University project that aims to establish the utility of ubiquitous technology in the classroom—in this case, a Japanese-language classroom. One of the complications of learning to speak Japanese involves knowing which of the many levels of politeness is appropriate in a given context, and this is just what JAPELAS sets out to teach. The system determines the "appropriate" expression by trying to assess the social distance between interlocutors, their relative status, and the overall context of their interaction; it then supplies the student with the chosen expression, in real time. (Location 1180)
  • it makes a difference when distinctions like these are inscribed in the unremitting logic of an information-processing system.* Admittedly, JAPELAS is "just" a teaching tool, and a prototype at that, so maybe it can be forgiven a certain lack of nuance; you'd be drilled with the same rules by just about any human teacher, after all. (I sure was.) It is nevertheless disconcerting to think how easily such discriminations can be hard-coded into something seemingly neutral and unimpeachable and to consider the force they have when uttered by such a source. (Location 1193)
  • Erving Goffman taught us, way back in 1958, that we are all actors. we all have a collection of masks, in other words, to be swapped out as the exigencies of our transit through life require: one hour stern boss, the next anxious lover. who can maintain a custody of the self conscious and consistent enough to read as coherent throughout all the input modes everyware offers? What we're headed for, I'm afraid, is a milieu in which sustaining different masks for all the different roles in our lives will prove to be untenable, if simply because too much information about our previous decisions will follow us around. And while certain futurists have been warning us about this for years, for the most part even they hadn't counted on the emergence of a technology capable of closing the loop between the existence of such information and its actionability in everyday life. For better or worse, everyware is that technology. (Location 1217)
  • Everyware has already staked a claim on our visual imaginary, which in turn exerts a surprising influence on the development of technology. (Location 1265)
  • For Minority Report, director Steven Spielberg asked interaction and interface designers from the MIT Media Lab, Microsoft Research, Austin-based Milkshake Media, and elsewhere to imagine for him what digital media might look like in 2045. They responded with a coherent vision binding together: embedded sensor grids, gestural manipulation of data, newspaperlike information appliances, dynamic and richly personalized advertising, and ubiquitous biometric identification, all undergirded by a seamless real-time network. (Location 1286)
  • Media Lab alumnus John Underkoffler, designer of the gesture-driven interface in Report, was sought out by a group at defense contractor Raytheon, whose members had seen and been impressed by the film. He was eventually hired by Raytheon to develop similar systems for the U.S. military's "net-centric warfare" efforts, including a shared interface called the Common Tactical Blackboard. (Location 1306)
  • But it wouldn't have taken a surplus of imagination, even ahead of the fact, to discern the original Napster in Paul Baran's first paper on packet-switched networks, the Manhattan skyline in the Otis safety elevator patent, or the suburb and the strip mall latent in the heart of the internal combustion engine. (Location 1344)
  • In networking, the next step beyond the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth standards we're familiar with is a technology called ultra-wideband (UWB), a lowpower scheme that relays data at rates upwards of 500 MB/second—around ten times faster than current wireless. UWB is rich enough to support the transmission of multiple simultaneous streams of highdefinition video, agile and responsive enough to facilitate ad-hoc mesh networking.* (Location 1354)
  • Aware Home consortium based at the Georgia Institute of Technology to Nomura Research Institute's various "ubiquitous network" efforts, (Location 1422)
  • (If a high percentage of such proposals seem to be Japanese in origin, there's a reason: the demographic crisis is especially pressing in Japan, which is also almost certainly the society most inclined to pursue technical solutions.) (Location 1423)
  • The ostensible prerogatives of public safety in the post–September 11 era have been neatly summarized by curators Terence Riley and Guy Nordenson, in their notes to the 2004 Museum of Modern Art show "Tall Buildings," as "reduce the public sphere, restrict access, and limit unmonitored activity." In practice, this has meant that previous ways of doing things in the city and the world will no longer do; our fear of terror, reinscribed by the bombings in Bali, Madrid and London, has on some level forced us to reassess the commitment to mobility our open societies are based on. (Location 1458)
  • We all understand the strategy of target removal: "something that is not there cannot be taken," and so cash and even human-readable credit and debit cards are replaced with invisible, heavily encrypted services like PayPass. Target devaluation seeks to make vulnerable items less desirable to those who would steal them, and this is certainly the case where self-identifying, self-describing devices or vehicles can be tracked via their network connection. For that matter, why even try to steal something that becomes useless in the absence of a unique biometric identifier, key or access code? This is the goal of offender incapacitation, a strategy also involved in attempts to lock out the purchase of denied items. Target insulation and exclusion are addressed via the defense in depth we've already discussed—the gauntlet of networked sensors, alarms, and cameras around any target of interest, as well as all the subtler measures that make such places harder to get to. And finally there is the identification of offenders or potential offenders, achieved via remote iris scanning or facial recognition systems like the one currently deployed in the Newham borough of London.   Who's driving the (Location 1495)
  • Mark Weiser and John Seely Brown's seminal "The Coming Age of Calm Technology," which argued that the ubiquity of next-generation computing would compel its designers to ensure that it "encalmed" its users. In their words, "if computers are everywhere, they better stay out of the way." (Location 1519)
  • The strategy they devised to promote calm had to do with letting the user shift back and forth between the focus of attention and what they called the "periphery"—that which "we are attuned to without attending to explicitly." Just as, in your peripheral vision you may see objects but not need to attend to them (or even necessarily be consciously aware of their presence), here the periphery was a place where information could reside until actively required. To design systems that "inform without overburdening," though, you'd need to call upon a different set of interface modes than the conventional PC keyboard and mouse. Brown and weiser thought input modes like these were a big part of the problem; roy want and his co-authors, in a 2002 paper, flatly state that "[n]ondesktop interface modalities, such as pen, speech, vision, and touch, are attractive" to the enlightened interface designer "because they require less of a user's attention than a traditional desktop interface."* * The presence of "speech" on this list, and in so many depictions that come after, is interesting. Mark Weiser explicitly excluded voice-recognition interfaces from his vision of ubiquitous computing, pointing out that it would be "prominent and attention-grabbing" in precisely the way that "a good tool is (Location 1528)
  • Natalie Jeremijenko's installation Live Wire (also known as Dangling String). This was an "eight-foot piece of plastic spaghetti" attached to an electric motor mounted in the ceiling that was itself wired into the building's ethernet. Fluctuations in network traffic ran the motor, causing the string to oscillate visibly and audibly. (Location 1543)
  • late 1990s, when a company called Ambient Devices offered for sale something it called the Ambient Orb. The Orb was a milky globe maybe ten centimeters in diameter that communicated with a proprietary wireless network, independent of the Internet. It was supposed to sit atop a desk or a night table and use gentle modulations of color to indicate changes in some user-specified quantity, from the weather (color mapped to temperature, with the frequency of pulses indicating likelihood of precipitation) to commute traffic (green for smooth sailing, all the way through to red for "incident"). (Location 1551)
  • London-based designer/makers Jack Schulze and Matt Webb, working for Nokia, have devised a presentation called Attention Fader that addresses just this situation. It's a framed picture, the kind of thing you might find hanging on the side wall of an office cubicle, that appears at first glance to be a rather banal and uninflected portrait of a building along the south bank of the Thames. But the building has a lawn before it, and a swath of sky above it, and there's a section of pathway running past, along the river embankment, and Schulze and Webb have used each of these as subtle channels for the display of useful information. Leave town for a few days, let your in-box fill up, and the number of people gaggling on the river path will slowly mount. Ignore a few high-priority messages, and first cars, then trucks, and finally tanks pull up onto the lawn; let the whole thing go, and after a while some rather malevolent-looking birds begin to circle in the sky. (Location 1558)
    • Note: reference
  • 1965 by engineer (and later Intel co-founder) Gordon Moore, in a now-legendary article in the industry journal Electronics. It would turn out to be one of the most profoundly influential observations in the history of computing, and as nakedly self-fulfilling a prophecy as there ever has been. (It's so well known in the industry, in fact, that if you feel like you've got a handle on what it implies for everyware, there's no reason for you not to skip ahead to Thesis 33.) (Location 1590)
  • Ubicomp advocate Mike Kuniavsky acknowledges this in his "Smart Furniture Manifesto": in his own words, endowing furniture and other everyday things with digital intelligence "can introduce all kinds of complexity and failure modes that don't currently exist." (I'd argue that you can replace the "can" in that sentence with "demonstrably will.") (Location 1668)
  • "[a]lways design a thing by considering it in its next larger context." (Location 1692)
  • Chris Kasabach, says the company thinks of the living body as a "continuous beacon": "signals can either fall on the floor, or you can collect them and they can tell you something higher-level" about the organism in question. Stripped of its specific referent, this is as good a one-sentence description of the data-discovery aspect of everyware as you are ever likely to come across. Everyware's mesh of enhanced objects dispersed throughout everyday life also happens to offer a way of collecting the signals already out there and making of them a gnosis of the world. (Location 1698)
  • border crossings: irruptions of information in an unexpected (and generally problematic) context. (Location 1723)
  • Where everyware is concerned, we can no longer expect anything to exist in isolation from anything else. It comprises a "global mnemotechnical system," in the words of French philosopher Bernard Stiegler—a mesh of computational awareness, operating in a great many places and on a great many channels, fused to techniques that permit the relational or semantic cross-referencing of the facts thus garnered, and an almost limitless variety of modes and opportunities for output. (Location 1732)
  • Make no mistake about it, "specify" is the operative word here. UML allows programmers to decompose a situation into a use case: a highly granular, stepped, sequential representation of the interaction, with all events and participants precisely defined. Such use cases are a necessary intermediate step between the high-level, natural language description of a scenario and its ultimate expression in code. In a valid use case, nothing is left unspecified or undefined. Every party to an interaction must be named, as well as all of the attributes belonging to (and all the operations that can be performed on) each of them. To an non-engineer, the level of attention to detail involved can seem almost pathologically obsessive. In order to write sound code, though, all of these values must be specified minutely. (Location 1784)
  • If we are ever to regard the appearance of computing in everyday life as anything more than an annoyance, though, someone will have to do just this sort of thing. Someone will have to model fuzzy, indirect, imprecise behaviors. Someone will have to teach systems to regard some utterances as signal and some as noise, some facts as significant and some as misdirection, some gestures as compulsive tics and yet others as meaningful commands. (Location 1805)
  • challenges of this order are often called "AI-hard"—that is, a system capable of mastering them could be construed as having successfully met the definition of artificial human intelligence. Simply describing everyday situations in useful detail would utterly tax contemporary digital design practice and most of the methodological tools it's built on. (Location 1809)
  • As computing technology becomes less overt and less conspicuous, it gets harder to see that devices are designed, manufactured, and marketed by some specific institution, that network and interface standards are specified by some body, and so on. A laptop is clearly made by Toshiba or Dell or Apple, but what about a situation? (Location 1845)
  • Most difficult of all is the case when we cease to think of some tool as being "technology" at all—as studies in Japan and Norway indicate is currently true of mobile phones, at least in those places. Under such circumstances, the technology's governing metaphors and assumptions have an easier time infiltrating the other decisions we make about the world. Their effects come to seem more normal, more natural, simply the way things are done, while gestures of refusal become that much harder to make or to justify. And that is something that should give us pause, at the cusp of our embrace of something as insinuative and as hard to see as everyware. (Location 1854)